• Monday, Aug 03, 2020
  • Last Update : 06:10 pm

Palestinians mourn Bangladeshi war hero’s death

  • Published at 10:32 am June 16th, 2020
Saiful Azam
File photo of Saiful Azam Collected

During the Six-day war in 1967, Saiful Azam had downed four Israeli aircrafts

Palestinian activists are mourning the loss of Saiful Azam, 79, a Bangladeshi fighter pilot who died of natural causes in Dhaka on Sunday.

Azam fought in wars as a fighter pilot in three different countries - Jordan, Iraq, and Pakistan. He is a unique figure in the history of Bangladesh.

During the 1967 Six-Day War, he was the only pilot to have destroyed four Israeli aircrafts, reports Aljazeera.

Mourning him on social media, Palestinian historian Osama al-Ashqar hailed Azam as an extraordinary fighter pilot.

"Our brothers in Bangladesh and Pakistan were our partners in defending the Al-Aqsa Mosque," the holy site in Jerusalem, he added.

The Palestinian professor Naji Shoukri posted on his Twitter mourning Azam. 

"Saiful Azam loved Palestine and fought for Jerusalem," said Shoukri, paid his respects wishing him God's grace.

Renowned Palestinian journalist Tamer al-Mishal lauded Azam called him "the Eagle of the Air".

Downing four Israeli warplanes

On June 5, 1967, four Israeli jets were descending on Jordan's Mafraq airbase to demolish the country's tiny air force, right after the entire Egyptian air force had been destroyed.

Jordanian air force commanders deployed Azam to defend the airbase where he ended up shooting down two aircrafts. He shot down two more Israeli planes in Iraq two days later.

He was awarded by Jordan and Iraq as a recognition. The United States also gave him the Living Eagles title in 2001 for his outstanding skills.

After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, the veteran pilot joined the Bangladesh Air Force to serve his country. In 1980, he retired and joined the civil service and later took up a political career.

Describing Azam as the pride of Bangladesh, former chief of Border Guards Bangladesh, Major General Fazlur Rahman, said his name will remain a part of Bangladesh's history.

"He is an inspiration for every soldier in the battleground for how to defeat big enemies with limited weapons. He set a milestone in optimum use of skills and courage during war," Rahman said.

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