Palash R. Ghosh – IB Times Oct 24, 2012
The Sudanese government has accused Israel of blowing up an arms factory overnight in the capital city of Khartoum.
According to Reuters, the facility was attacked by four military planes, producing several huge explosions and fires. No one died in the incident, although several people were hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
Sudan’s Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters in Khartoum that the aircraft came from the east, namely they were of Israeli origin.
“We think Israel did the bombing,” he explicitly stated.
This is not the first time the Sudanese have blamed Israel for such military strikes.
An explosion last April that killed two people in the eastern city of Port Sudan was also blamed on an Israeli missile strike by Khartoum officials. Sudan also linked Israel to a strike on a convoy in northeastern Sudan three years ago.
Israel would neither confirm nor deny any of the Sudanese accusations.
Jonathan Marcus, BBC diplomatic correspondent, said the accusations of an Israeli air strike on Sudanese targets are not without some merit.
“While the Sudanese authorities are yet to provide any evidence for their accusation that it was Israel, this is by no means as outlandish as it might sound,” he wrote.
“For a bitter secret war has been going on for a number of years between Israel and Hamas, with Sudan apparently very much one of the battlegrounds.”
Marcus noted that U.S. diplomatic cables have allegedly revealed the existence of arms smuggling networks running through Sudan.
“In January and February of 2009, there were two mystery air attacks on convoys in the Sudanese desert,” Marcus said.
“More recently, in April last year, there were reports that a senior Hamas figure, thought to be responsible for arranging arms supplies, was killed near Port Sudan. The Sudanese government said that Israeli attack helicopters had destroyed the car in which two individuals were travelling. Again there is no confirmation of any of this, and the Israelis are saying nothing.”
In January of this year, Prime Minister of Gaza Ismail Haniyeh (a member of Hamas) made an official visit to Khartoum for talks with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. During his appearance there, Haniyeh reiterated that his organization would never recognize Israel.
Jonathan Schanzer and Laura Grossman of IHS Defense, Risk and Security Consulting wrote in a report in July 2012 that “Sudan … maintains a direct relationship with Iranian surrogate groups, primarily Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad [PIJ]. … Hamas and PIJ continue to fundraise in Sudan and maintain a presence there. These groups also established a strong relationship with Sudanese government officials and use Sudan as a key transit route to facilitate the movement of Iranian-shipped weapons to Gaza.”