A top Israeli defense official accused Sudan on Thursday of being a “dangerous
terrorist state,” after Khartoum blamed Israel for a Tuesday night air raid on a
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, director of policy and
political military affairs at the Defense Ministry, refused to address
allegations of Israel’s involvement in the attack, which Sudan claims took place
at midnight Tuesday on the Yarmouk army factory in southern Khartoum.
need time to understand exactly what happened there, but the role of Sudan is
clear: It is a dangerous terrorist state,” Gilad told Army Radio.
accused Khartoum of aiding and abetting terrorism, and said the Sudanese regime
was “supported by Iran” and was used as a route to transfer weapons to Hamas
terrorists in the Gaza Strip, via Egypt.
Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu on Thursday said Israel had nothing to say about the explosion at the
Netanyahu’s comments followed those by Defense Minister
Ehud Barak, who when asked by Channel 2 News about Sudan’s accusations, said:
“There is nothing I can say about this subject.”
Sudan called on the UN
Security Council to condemn Israel for the attack, which killed two
Sudan accused Israel on Wednesday of carrying out an air strike
on the military plant, saying it found evidence including rocket debris that the
IAF was involved in the attack.
A huge fire broke out at the arms
factory, which witnesses said was rocked by several explosions. Firefighters took more than two hours to extinguish the blaze at
Sudan’s main factory for ammunition and small arms.
Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said four Israeli planes had bombed the military
According to Sudanese newspaper Al-Rakoba, Osman said that the
weaponry used in the attack was not owned by any other country in the region
The attacker managed to disable radar at Khartoum airport
before the air strike, Osman said, claiming that Israel had previously said that
the Yarmouk plant threatened its interests, Al-Rakoba reported.
to the paper, 60 percent of the plant was destroyed in the attack, with the
remaining 40 percent partially destroyed.
Osman said the Sudanese
authorities had already begun work to transfer the plant to a location away from
the capital, and Israel knew that and took the opportunity to strike
Four aircraft came from the east and returned in the same direction,
Osman said, adding that Sudan “reserved the right to strike back at
“We will take more decisive steps towards Israeli interests which
we now consider legitimate targets,” Al-Rakoba cited the minister as
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) says that Sudan is the
central crossroads in a major weapons smuggling route from Iran that then passes
through Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula and from there on to the Gaza
Iran is directly involved in procuring the weapons and helping
transfer them to Hamas in Gaza, according to the Shin Bet.
information minister declined to say whether any weapons from Yarmouk had ended
up in Gaza, saying that only “traditional weapons in line with international
law” were produced there.
Sudan is also an important center for Hamas
fund-raising, according to a report by the US-based NEFA Foundation.
report identified former Sudanese president Abd al- Rahman Siwar al-Dhahab as
the deputy leader of the Itilaf al-Khayr (“Union of Good”), a coalition of 50
Islamic charities that funds Hamas.
Sudan’s UN Ambassador Daffa-Alla
Elhag Ali Osman called on the Security Council to condemn the attack, “because
it is a blatant violation of the concept of peace and security.
jeopardizes peace and security in the entire region, not just in Sudan,” he told
the council during a briefing on UN peacekeepers in Darfur.
“We call on
you to stop foreign hands from meddling in the Darfur conflict and to help Sudan
arrive at a final solution that would maintain peace and security.”
also moved to condemn the attack, and said that Israel was behind it.
“unjustified aggression” was “certain confirmation of the brutality of the
Zionist regime,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said,
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported.
Also on Thursday,
pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat reported that the US Embassy in Khartoum closed
shortly before the attack, which had led to speculation there that the US may
have known about the strike before it happened.
Al-Hayat said the embassy
had stopped providing consular services in September, in the wake of riots in
response to the anti-Islamic movie Innocence of Muslims, and suggested embassy
staff could have feared another attack.
The Hurriyat Sudan newspaper
reported on Thursday afternoon that the Sudanese government had waited until it
received information regarding the source of the attack before making any
Hurriyat Sudan cited an anonymous security expert
as saying that while Khartoum was unable to respond to the attack militarily, it
reserved the right to retaliate and could do so indirectly.
the unnamed source, Sudan could respond by continuing to provide weapons to
Palestinian movements in Gaza, by supporting more regional movements that are
hostile to Israel, and by targeting South Sudan, which Khartoum believes is
cooperating with Israel militarily.
Major damage to the Yarmouk plant
would be a blow to Sudan’s army in its battle against insurgencies in the
western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue
Nile, bordering rival South Sudan.
Khartoum has blamed Israel for
In May, Sudan’s government said one person had been
killed after a car exploded in the eastern city of Port Sudan.
the explosion resembled a blast last year that it had blamed on an Israeli
Israel declined to comment on the May incident or the
2011 blast, which killed two people.
Khartoum also blamed Israel for two
2009 attacks on a suspected arms convoy in a remote desert area of Sudan, in
which up to 40 people were killed.
Sudan had initially accused the US of
the attacks but later said they “most probably involved Israel.” Some media
reports said the vehicles in the convoy were carrying arms destined for Hamas in
In 1998, the United States fired missiles at the El Shifa medicine
factory in Khartoum.
US officials said it was producing chemical weapons
ingredients and was partly owned by Osama bin Laden, who once lived in Khartoum.
Sudan insisted the plant made only pharmaceuticals.
The attack followed
the bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed at least 226
people, including 12 Americans. The attacks were blamed on
Reuters contributed to this report.