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12 Thais killed in Israel-Gaza violence: government

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Israeli-HamasTwelve Thais have been killed in the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants, the kingdom’s government said Monday as it prepared a plan to evacuate its citizens.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Kanchana Patarachoke said the Thai embassy in Israel learned of the deaths from the victims’ employers.

She said a further eight Thais had been wounded and 11 taken captive since the war erupted when Hamas launched a large-scale attack on Saturday.

There are around 30,000 Thai workers in Israel, according to Bangkok’s labour ministry, many of them working in agriculture.

Labour minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said Israeli forces had begun to move workers away from danger zones.

“There are 1,099 who have registered to return home,” Phiphat said in an interview on Thai television.

“We have about 5,000 labourers working in the fighting zone.”

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Kanchana said Thai air force planes were on standby to fly citizens home, though the date and other details of any evacuation were still being worked on.

More than 1,100 people have been killed in the conflict in Israel and Gaza, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning of a “long and difficult” fight ahead.

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