Mother, sister pray for safe release of Thai couple among 11 captured by Hamas militants, Latest World News - The New Paper

Mother, sister pray for safe release of Thai couple among 11 captured by Hamas militants

BANGKOK - An elderly mother and a sister in Udon Thani, Thailand were distraught after learning on Sunday that their son and brother were among the 11 Thai workers captured by Hamas fighters.

Ms Khian Phankong, 85, and Ms Urai Chanthachart, 61, burst into tears after learning that Mr Boonthom Phankong, 45, had been taken hostage.

The two women said Mr Boonthom had been working in Israel for five years with his wife Natthawee Moolgun, who hails from Khon Kaen. The couple were captured by Hamas following the militant group’s attack on Israel.

Ms Khian said she was very worried by the news of her son’s capture and was praying for his safe release. Mr Boonthom is the youngest of her nine children.

“We miss him a lot and fear he is in danger. We pray for him to return home to his siblings safely,” Ms Urai said.

“We hope all sacred things will protect our brother and sister-in-law.”

Mr Noppadol Jongsomchai, chief Udon Thani employment officer, has visited the mother and daughter to extend moral support. He said five workers from Udon Thani were among the 11 captured.

While the Mr Boonthom and his wife remain detained by Palestinian militants, another Thai worker in Mishmeret, an agricultural community in central Israel may have been injured, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry’s initial reports

Currently, there are about 5,000 Thai nationals residing in the area near the Gaza Strip.

The Thai embassy in Israel reported that on Saturday, at around 6.30am local time, missiles rained on Israel, from the border with the Gaza Strip to the central part of the country, including Tel Aviv, neighbouring cities, and Netivot.

The embassy has disseminated videos advising Thai nationals in Israel after the emergency warning signals were fired.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and Foreign Minister Panpree Phathithanukorn have told the embassy to take care of Thai nationals and closely monitor the situation.

Two Thai nationals have died in the violence between Israeli forces and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Mr Srettha said on Sunday.

Israel has declared an emergency within an 80km radius of the Gaza Strip, including Tel Aviv, and has opened public bomb shelters in various cities. The Ministry of Tourism of Israel has issued warnings to tourists.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Thailand has instructed the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to coordinate with Palestine to secure the release of Thais captured by Hamas militants.

An urgent meeting of senior government officials in Thailand chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Phumtham Wechayachai was also informed by the Thai ambassador to Israel that the number of Thai workers killed in the Hamas-led attack may rise. - THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK