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Israel calls for immediate release of hostages, reports two Thai people held in Gaza killed

Demonstrators gather during a rally by the families of Israeli hostages held in Gaza (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP)
  • There are now six Thai hostages being held in Gaza, according to an AFP tally
  • Families of Israeli hostages urged the UN Security Council to call for the immediate release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza

The Israeli army said Thursday that two Thai hostages earlier believed to be alive in Gaza were killed in the October 7 attack and their bodies are being held in the Palestinian territory.

“We informed the families of two kidnapped Thai citizens, who worked in agriculture in the plantations near Kibbutz Beeri, that they were murdered in the terrorist attack on October 7 and their bodies are being held by Hamas,” said army spokesman Daniel Hagari.

The Israeli army and the Hostages and Missing Families Forum named the two men as Sonthaya Oakkharasr and Sudthisak Rinthalak.

There are now six Thai hostages being held in Gaza, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

“As we mourn the tragic murder of two Thai hostages, it is imperative for the international community to acknowledge that the hostage crisis extends beyond being solely an Israeli issue,” the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said in a statement, urging a united response.

Thailand has about 30,000 citizens in Israel, most of whom work in the agricultural sector.

Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s military retaliation has killed at least 35,272 people, also mostly civilians, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Families of Israeli hostages urged the UN Security Council on Thursday to condemn the October 7 Hamas attacks and call for the immediate release of hostages held by Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, the National reported

“There can be no doubt that hostage-taking is prohibited under international law,” said Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, professor of law at Bar-Ilan University and former vice chairwoman of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

“The taking of hostages in the context of an armed conflict is a war crime. They have been violating this prohibition for over 220 days.

Ms Halperin-Kaddari urged the Security Council to demand that all states fulfil their duty and put an end to the breaches of international law by Hamas.

Ms Halperin-Kaddari said the hostages should be released without conditions.

US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said bringing home the hostages is a “responsibility that President [Joe] Biden feels to his core”.