Sunday, March 29, 2009

Report: Israel carried out 3 attacks on Sudan arms smugglers

By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press | Haaretz, Israel, March 28, 2009

Israel has carried out three air strikes since January against what was believed to be Iranian arms shipments passing through Sudan on their way to Gaza, the American news network ABC reported on Friday.

Earlier this week Sudanese officials confirmed that in January, in the wake Israel’s assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza, unidentified aircraft attacked a convoy of 17 trucks heading north through eastern Sudan. CBSNews reported on Thursday that the Israel Air Force was apparently behind the attack.

A U.S. official confirmed to ABC that there were actually three attacks in total. This information matches reports from Sudanese officials of two strikes on truck convoys on January 27 and February 11, and the sinking of a suspected arms ship in the Red Sea.




According to the report, 39 people riding in the 17-truck convoy were killed, while a number of civilians in the area were injured.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah denounced on Saturday the alleged airstrikes.

In a statement, Hezbollah called the airstrikes a new ‘Israeli crime’ and urged Arab leaders meeting in Qatar next week to craft a response denouncing them.

Israeli officials declined to confirm or deny whether Israel had been involved in an air strike in Sudan.

However, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted on Thursday at Israel’s suspected role in the reported air-strike.

“We operate everywhere where we can hit terror infrastructure - in close places, in places further away, everywhere where we can hit terror infrastructure, we hit them and we hit them in a way that increases deterrence,” said Olmert, speaking at a conference in Herzliya.

“It was true in the north in a series of incidents and it was true in the south, in a series of incidents,” he added. “There is no point in going into detail, and everybody can use their imagination. Those who need to know, know. And those who need to know, know that there is no place where Israel cannot operate. There is no such place.”

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