Israel assassinated a senior Hamas weapons smuggler late Tuesday night when it bombed a rental car in Sudan, the Al-Arabiya news channel reported on Wednesday, shedding light on the mysterious late-night air strike.

The station did not identify the two men who were killed in the strike but said that one of them was Sudanese and that the other was from another Arab country. Some reports have claimed that he was a senior Hamas operative responsible for smuggling weapons from Iran, Syria and Lebanon to the Gaza Strip.

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Sudan is a known stop on the smuggling route from Iran to Gaza. In 2009, on the sidelines of Operation Cast Lead in the Strip, Israel Air Force aircraft reportedly bombed a convoy of trucks carrying weaponry and traveling through the Sudanese desert on its way to the Gaza Strip.

Ships reportedly sail from the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, controlled by the Revolutionary Guards Corps, and dock at an Iranian-controlled port in Sudan. There, the weaponry is unloaded onto the back of trucks that travel North into Egypt and through the Sinai Peninsula, eventually unloading their cargo along the border with the Gaza Strip.

According to the Sudanese, an aircraft approached Sudan from the Red Sea and bombed the rental car about 14 kilometers south of Port Sudan. The two men had reportedly just landed in Sudan an hour earlier.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Karti on Wednesday accused Israel of carrying out an attack on Tuesday near Port Sudan that killed two people and said Khartoum reserved the right to react to the aggression.

“This is absolutely an Israeli attack,” he told reporters.

He said Israel undertook the attack to scupper Sudan’s chances of being removed from a US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The government in Jerusalem declined to comment.

Sudanese officials have offered different versions on how the strike was carried out. Police say a missile hit the car near the port city, but a state government official blamed the bombing on a foreign aircraft that flew in from the Red Sea.

Washington this year initiated the process to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism after a peaceful January referendum in which the country’s south voted to secede.

Israel has been operating persistently against the Iranian smuggling mechanism since Operation Cast Lead.

In November 2009, the navy seized the Francop cargo ship that was taking weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and last month seized the Victoria, which was shipping weaponry to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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