Palestinians on Saturday hailed the shooting down of an Israeli F-16 by Syria, with some celebrating in the streets and terror groups in the Gaza Strip calling the incident a “severe blow” to Israel.
Meanwhile, the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, announced that it was “raising the state of alert” along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel in wake of the tensions in northern Israel.
Abu Obaida, a spokesperson, said the move was aimed at “defending our people and responding to any Zionist aggression.”
In Jenin in the West Bank, some Palestinians celebrated the downing of the jet and handed out sweets and candies to passersby.
In Gaza, the groups there were unanimous in their support for Syria, with many hoping it would act as a deterrent to further Israeli military operations.
The aircraft was apparently hit after Israel shot down an Iranian drone that entered Israeli airspace. Israel then launched airstrikes on a dozen Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria, including on the control center that launched the UVA.
The Syrian’s responded with anti-aircraft missiles, apparently hitting one of the jets. The pilots managed to eject over Israeli territory. One was seriously wounded and the other suffered light wounds when they ejected.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) spokesperson Daoud Shehab described the downing of the F-16 as a “severe blow” to Israel.
“Israel’s image of deterrence has been dealt a severe blow,” Shehab said. “This is a defeat for Israel. It’s also a blow to American and Israeli dominance in the region.”
The downing of the F-16 has had a “positive impact on the morale of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance factions,” the Islamic Jihad spokesperson added.
Syria, Shehab said, was entitled to respond to any Israeli “aggression” on its soil. “What happened in Syria today proves that some countries have the power and capabilities to respond to aggression,” he said.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a pro-Syrian Marxist terror group, expressed full support for Syria in the face of Israeli “aggression and thuggery.”
The PFLP “saluted” the Syrian army for downing the Israeli jet.
The incident, it added, showed that despite the civil war, Syria was still capable of repelling any Israeli attack.
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), another pro-Syrian Leninist terror group, said that the Syrians had every right to defend their sovereignty.
“We support the Syrian people who are defending their country against Israeli aggression,” the DFLP said.
It also accused Israel of “banging the drums of war to cover up for the American Israeli plan to liquidate the Palestinian cause and rights.”