According to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin this morning (Thursday), the dead toll from Hamas attacks in Israel has risen to 21, and the government is considering evacuating Thais through land to Jordan, which would serve as a transit point for flights back to Thailand.
According to Kanchana Patarachoke, a representative of the Thai Foreign Ministry, the first 15 evacuees arrived at Suvarnabhumi international airport at 10:25 a.m. local time today on an El Al aircraft. On October 18th, a second contingent of eighty Thai nationals is scheduled to fly in.
As he prepared to leave for Singapore, the Thai prime minister said in Malaysia that he had received a report from the Foreign Ministry advising him that Thai evacuees should take a land route to Jordan rather than risk evacuation by sea due to the ongoing fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
He stated that professionals from agencies with experience in evacuation have been sent to Israel to ensure that Thais are removed from the country quickly and safely.
In addition to the Airbus-340 and four C-130 transport planes of the Royal Thai Air Force, he said that Air Asia and Nok Air have been enlisted to help coordinate flights for the evacuation plan, and that the planes will land in Jordan to pick up Thais who evacuated over land from Israel, since the airspace over Tel Aviv is currently closed to non-scheduled flights.
According to the prime minister, the city of Tel Aviv itself is inaccessible to civilian vehicles due to the closure of many highways, leaving military transport as the sole practical option for getting around.
He said that he expected Israel would help given the death toll in Thailand and that the Thai military had requested Israel for the use of military vehicles to convey Thais to the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv.
Workers on kibbutz farms in Gaza, of which there are over 5,000 Thais, have shown interest in returning to Thailand. Thirty thousand Thais are estimated to be employed in Israel.
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