After Thai Worker Killed, Bangkok Urges Israel: Move Laborers Away From Gaza

Greenhouse worker killed by mortar fire had been in Israel only a month.

Thai workers in Israel’s south during air raid,  July 10.
Thai workers in Israel’s south during air raid, July 10.Credit: Ilan Assayag

Thailand on Thursday asked the Israeli government to move over 4,000 Thai workers 10 to 20 kilometers away from the Gaza Strip to ensure their safety after a Thai farm laborer was killed on Wednesday by a mortar shell fired from Gaza, AFP reported.

Narakorn Kittiyangkul, 36, was severely wounded while working in a greenhouse in a southern community near Gaza. He was rushed to hospital, but died on the way.

Kittiyangkul had been working in Israel only one month when he was killed. He leaves behind his 62-year-old father, who is blind and living with relatives in the Pua district of Nan province, according to the Bangkok Post.

Kittiyangkul was the third civilian killed by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge.

The Thai Foreign Ministry said its embassy in Tel Aviv had advised its citizens to stop working in the area adjacent to Gaza. The embassy contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry and 96 employers at agricultural settlements to ask them to relocate 4,200 Thai nationals working near the Gaza Strip, to safer areas at least 10 to 20 kilometers from the Strip, ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee told reporters in Bangkok. "But we will not evacuate our workers from Israel yet," he added.

The Thai Labor Department has meanwhile suspended the sending of Thai workers to six zones in Israel considered dangerous.

The regions, all within 20 kilometers of the Gaza Strip, are Eshkol, Bnei Shimon, Merhavim, Sdot Negev, Hof Ashkelon and Sha'ar HaNegev, in which over 4,200 Thai workers are currently employed.

The Thai embassy in Tel Aviv has set up a center to monitor the situation around the clock. So far 38 Thai workers had said they wanted to be moved to safe areas.

Some 25,000 Thai migrant agricultural laborers work in Israel.

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