The Syrian military has hit at least one intruding Israeli F-16 warplane that attacked positions inside Syrian territory, sending it down in flames and smoke.
Syrian state TV cited a Syrian military official as saying that Syrian aerial defense had responded to Israeli “aggression” against an army base in central Syria.
The official said more than one Israeli aircraft had been hit.
‘One pilot in serious condition’
The Israeli military confirmed that one F-16 had gone down in northern Israel, and that its two pilots had ejected and had been located and transferred to hospital.
The Israeli army said later that one of the pilots was in serious condition, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The Israeli military claimed that it had attacked positions inside Syrian territory after it intercepted a drone launched from Syria on Saturday.
Syria forces refute Israeli drone claim
A pro-Syrian military alliance said later in the day that the Israeli claim about a drone intrusion was bogus.
The alliance said in a statement that Israel had targeted a drone base in Syria whose unmanned aircraft were used against the Daesh terrorist group.
It also pledged a “severe and serious” response to the Israeli act of “terrorism.”
Iran: Israelis are liars
Asked separately about the Israeli claim of intercepting a drone, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s second-in-command, said on Saturday that Iran would confirm no report coming out of Israel “because the Israelis are liars.”
He told Tasnim news agency that Iran would only confirm a drone interception if Syria made that confirmation.
He also said that Iran had no military presence in Syria and that the Syrian Army was adequately capable of defending Syrian territory.
Hamas says downing of jet ‘natural response’
Fawzi Barhoum, the spokesman for the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas, described the downing of the Israeli jet by Syria as a natural response to the regime’s attacks on Syrian territory.
“Countries and nations have the right to defend their soil, security, and stability in the face of threats,” he said.
Israel conducts new attacks
Meanwhile, Syrian media reported later on Saturday that explosions were heard near the capital, Damascus, as the Syrian air defense responded to “new Israeli aggression.”
Separately, The Jerusalem Post cited Israel’s Channel 2 as reporting that the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv had temporarily halted air traffic.
Over the past years, Israel has frequently attacked targets in Syria, often claiming that it hit positions or convoys belonging to Iran. This is while Iran has no military presence in Syrian territory, only offering advisory military assistance to the Syrian government fighting an all-out foreign-sponsored militancy.
TAP – will it be a US plane being shot down next? This event comes hard on the heels of the Russian warplane being shot down by the US-supplied MANPAD. Was revenge taken on the Israelis? 100 Syrian soldiers were killed up at Idlib by US planes. What will be the payback for that little episode?
The Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has strongly condemned the Israeli regime’s continued acts of aggression against Syria’s military and civilian structures, saying the downing of an Israeli F-16 jet by the Syrian air defense systems marks the “start of a new strategic phase” which would limit Israeli violations of the Syrian airspace.
Hezbollah, in a statement released on Saturday evening, praised “the vigilance of the Syrian army and its valiant response to shoot down the hostile Israeli aircraft.”
“Today’s developments mean the old equations have categorically ended,” the statement noted, adding that the Lebanese resistance movement firmly and strongly supported the Syrian people in defending their land, sovereignty and legitimate rights.
Earlier on Saturday, Syria’s state television, citing an unnamed Syrian military official, reported that air defense systems had struck at least one intruding Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft.
The official added that the aircraft had targeted a Syrian army base in the central region of the country, and that more than one Israeli warplane had been shot down.
A pro-government military alliance in Syria said in a statement that Israel would see a severe and serious response to its “terrorism” from now on.
Palestinians standing by Syria: Hamas
Meanwhile, a senior official of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, says his fellow fighters and the Palestinian nation stand by Syria in the face of Israel’s latest act of aggression against the Arab country plagued with foreign-sponsored militancy.
“We commend the Syrian response to the Israeli aggression. We affirm that Palestine stands by Syria in the face of this hostile move,” Ismail Radwan said in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language Quds Press International News Agency on Saturday.
He also condemned Israeli attacks on Syria, stressing that Damascus had the right to self-defense against Israeli assaults.
Radwan then called on the Hamas leadership, Arab nations and all Palestinians to join forces and confront “the imminent danger posed by the Zionist regime.”
Meanwhile, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, has announced in a statement that they have raised defense readiness to the maximum level to ward off any possible Israeli attack.
Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said the new measures came in light of recent developments in Syria