Iran to mediate with Hamas for release of 23 Thai hostages

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Bangkok, November 3 (IANS) The government in Bangkok said that Iran will mediate to help negotiate the release of 23 Thai captives who were taken as hostages by the Hamas militant group after it launched its massive assault against Israel on October 7,

Foreign Minister Parnpree Bhahiddha-Nukkara informed the media that he had been in touch with the government of Iran for the safe release of the Thai hostages, many of them who were working as migrant workers in Israel.

In a statement on Thursday, the Thai government said Iran, Qatar and Egypt had all "committed their full support ... in assisting with the negotiation for the release of the Thai hostages to the best of their abilities, as well as their readiness to fully assist and care for” them, during the Foreign Minister's visit to the Middle East this week.

“All three countries acknowledged the fact that the Thais are innocent and have no stake in the conflict,” the statement said.

Iran agreed to raise Thailand’s request with Tehran-backed Hamas; Egypt said it would “consider facilitating access to the Rafah border crossing once the Thai hostages are released,” and Qatar expressed hope that Thais will be among the first group to be released, the Thai statement said.

All three countries also called for a ceasefire that would aid the safe release of hostages, the statement said.

“All sides expressed concern regarding the unfolding situation in Israel and Gaza,” the statement said, adding that the three Middle Eastern countries also “extended condolences for the loss of lives and damages suffered, especially by innocent civilians, including Thai workers”.

At least 32 Thais have been killed in the conflict to date, one of the highest death tolls for foreign nationals, according to figures released by the Thai government.