Thai-Muslim politicians said on Thursday they had received assurances from the Palestinian group Hamas that all the Thai hostages being held would be among those released if mediators succeed in brokering a truce in Gaza.
The Islamist operatives took some 240 people hostage on Oct.7, when they rampaged through southern Israel killing 1,200 people, according to Israel. Thailand’s Foreign Ministry says 25 Thais were among those abducted and 39 were among those killed that day.
“Any ceasefire either 3 days or 5 days … Hamas will release hostages, including all Thais being held, which they promised,” Lepong Syed, the president of the Thai-Iran alumni association, told reporters in Bangkok’s parliament building.
“This could be in less than ten days or in the next two to three days,” he added.
Lepong is part of a team formed by Thai-Muslim politicians, headed by House Speaker, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, that has been in contact with the Hamas since October.
Qatari mediators were seeking a deal that would include a three-day truce, with Hamas releasing 50 of hostages and Israel releasing some women and minors from among its security detainees, an official in the Middle East briefed on the negotiations told Reuters on Wednesday.
Over 30,000 Thais were working in agriculture in Israel, according to Thai government estimates, but more than 7,200 have been repatriated since the crisis erupted. About 90% of Thailand’s 70 million people are Buddhist and have co-existed largely peacefully with its Muslim minority.
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