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Sudan warns of 'painful response' to factory strike

November 8, 2012 19:14

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir vows to take action against Israel in response to alleged Israeli attack on arms factory.

Fire engulfs the Yarmouk ammunition factory

Khartoum arms fire R370. (photo credit:REUTERS/Stringer )

KHARTOUM - Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Thursday promised his country would respond robustly to what he believes was an Israeli bombing of a Khartoum arms factory and said he was in "perfect health" after undergoing surgery in Saudi Arabia.

Sudan last month accused Israel of carrying out an air strike on the Yarmouk arms factory in the south of Khartoum, causing a blast that killed four people.

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Israel has not commented on the charge, but has long accused Sudan of channeling weapons from Iran to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

"I am in perfect health, and our response to Israel will be painful," state radio quoted Bashir, 68, as saying in a brief text message sent to mobile phones.

Bashir, who came to power in a bloodless 1989 coup, left hospital in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday after undergoing a "small, successful" operation, state media said.

Sudanese blogs and newspapers had begun to speculate about the president's health because he has held fewer public rallies in the past few months. He underwent surgery on his vocal cords in Qatar in August, an official said last month.

Neither Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu nor Defense Minister Ehud Barak commented on the alleged attack.

Amos Gilad, top aide to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, also refused to comment on the incident, but referred to Sudan's role in "assisting terrorism."

Following the incident, around 300 people gathered at the courtyard of a government building where the Sudanese cabinet was in an emergency meeting, shouting "Death to Israel" and "Remove Israel from the map."

"Israel is a country of injustice that needs to be deterred," Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha, standing next to President Bashir, told the crowd. "This attack only strengthens our firmness."
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