PM sidesteps question on role in Sudan air strike

"Time" quotes senior IDF officer who it claimed confirmed that Israel was behind the strike against a car in which two people were killed.

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April 8, 2011 03:26
2 minute read.
The wreckage from an air strike in Sudan [file]

Sudan strike. (photo credit: Channel 10)

 
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Israel on Thursday distanced itself from a mysterious air strike in Sudan earlier in the week – despite news reports quoting IDF officers who took credit for the bombing.

Time magazine quoted a senior IDF officer, who it claimed confirmed that Israel was behind the strike against a car, in which two people were killed. One of them was reportedly a Sudanese national.

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The other was said to have been a senior Hamas operative – possibly in charge of smuggling weaponry to the Gaza Strip.

“It’s not our first time there,” the official reportedly told Time, referring to a 2009 attack in which the IDF destroyed a weapons convoy near Sudan’s border with Egypt.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Israel was not behind everything that happened.

“Some see Israel’s hand in anything that happens, and it is not always true,” Netanyahu said during a press conference in Berlin, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He refused to elaborate.

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His choice of words, however, was interesting since “not always true” did not mean that this applied to Tuesday night’s strike in Sudan.

The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency on Thursday identified one of the men killed in the strike as Abdul-Latif Ashkar, who it said had replaced Mahmoud Ali Mabhouh as Hamas’s leading weapons smuggler after he was assassinated in Dubai in January 2010. Israel has been credited with the Mabhouh assassination.

Ma’an said that Ashkar was in his mid-40s, and a senior member of Hamas’ military wing. He was born in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, and was responsible for coordinating the transfer of weapons from Iran, Syria and Lebanon to the Gaza Strip. Sudan is a known stopover in the smuggling route to Gaza.

The Kuwait newspaper Al-Jarida reported Thursday that Dirar Abu Sisi – the Hamas rocket developer in Israeli custody – gave Israeli intelligence “valuable information” that led to the attack on arms smugglers in Port Sudan earlier this week.

According to a source quoted by the paper, Abu Sisi passed along the sensitive information to Israel following his alleged abduction during a train ride in Ukraine in February.

The source told Al-Jarida that Israel also received valuable information on smuggling routes and cells operating from Sudan, through Egypt – and in the Gaza Strip from a number of southern Sudanese refugees who have migrated to Israel.

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