Author Topic: US confirms Israel bombed Sudan, 39 dead  (Read 5019 times)

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Offline David Rothscum

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US confirms Israel bombed Sudan, 39 dead
« on: March 26, 2009, 11:15:54 am »

Windsor Genova - AHN News Writer

Jerusalem, Israel (AHN) - A Sudanese official has claimed that Israeli warplanes flew over Sudan and bombed a convoy of trucks transporting weapons intended for Hamas militants in Gaza in January, when Israeli forces were fighting militants in the Palestinian territory.

The bombing and burning of the 17 trucks killed 39 Sudanese, Eritreans, and Ethiopians, Sudanese Highways Minister Mabrouk Mubarak Saleem said, according to The minister said many were also wounded in the attack.

Unidentified American officials also told CBS News that the attack came after Israeli intelligence discovered that weapons were being trucked through Sudan and Egypt. From Egypt, the trucks cross the Sinai Desert and there the weapons are smuggled into Hamas-held territory in Gaza by sea or underground tunnels in the border city of Rafiah.

The Israeli government has no comments about the report.

Offline David Rothscum

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Re: Sudanese Official Claims Israel Bombed Weapons Convoy In Sudan
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2009, 11:22:00 am »
US jets 'bombed convoy in Sudan'
Salim said the air raids were launched from the
US fleet in the Red Sea

A Sudanese minister has told Al Jazeera that the US launched two air raids in the country earlier this year.

Mabrouk Mubarak Salim, the state minister for highways, said on Thursday that Sudanese, Somalis, Ethiopians, and Eritreans were killed in the attacks in January and February.

The attacks targeted a number of cars in the desert near the eastern city of Port Sudan, Salim said.

Photos released by a Sudanese intelligence source to Al Jazeera show what is said to be the aftermath of the attacks.

More than 50 people received treatment at a hospital in the town of Kassala after the raids, which were launched from the US fleet in the Red Sea, he said.

However, Deng Alor, the Sudanese foreign minister, said in Egypt on Wednesday that he had no knowledge of any such air raid.

"We have no information about such an attack," he said.

'Israel involved'

The US-based CBS network reported similar attacks on Wednesday, but said its sources had told David Martin, its Pentagon reporter, that Israeli aircraft were involved.

CBS said that the jets were targeting weapons convoys heading through Sudan on their way to Egypt, where they would have been taken across the Sinai into the Gaza Strip.

"Sudan used to provide Hamas with weapons but that is not the case any more," Alor said.

Salim said that the air raids hit human-traffickers travelling through the desert area and the only weapons in the convoys were small arms being carried by guards.

Ronen Bergman, an investigative journalist, told Al Jazeera that his Israeli and US sources backed up the CBS take on events.

Bergman said that weapons are smuggled to Gaza either from Syria by sea to the Sinai peninsula or from Iran via Sudan.

"The last operation executed by the Israeli military forces in the Gaza Strip has caused Hamas to lose quite a lot of its arsenal and, therefore, to request for more and more supplies from Iran," Bergman said.

"Some of those supplies were intercepted in that alleged raid by the Israeli air force."

Neither the US, which has troops based in the African state of Djibouti, nor Israel has commented on the alleged incident.

Israel fought a 22-day war in Gaza which ended when it declared a unilateral halt to military operations on January 18.

Offline David Rothscum

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Re: US/Israel bomb Sudan, 39 dead
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2009, 03:24:31 pm »

While Jerusalem had no official comment Thursday on reports that either Israel or the US in January bombed one or more convoys carrying arms through Sudan for eventual delivery to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said there was "nowhere in the world" that Israel cannot reach.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas...

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meet in Jerusalem, Monday.

The attacks reportedly took place near Port Sudan, on the Red Sea.

Senior Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil denied that the convoys were carrying arms bound for Gaza.

"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," Olmert said at a conference at the Interdisciplinary Center 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 place like that."

"Israel has never had stronger deterrence than it has gained in the last few years," the prime minister said.

Israel allegedly bombed a covert nuclear facility in Syria in September 2007, and last year was widely accused of the assassination of Hizbullah operative Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus.

While Olmert seemed to be hinting at Israeli involvement in the Sudan attacks, his spokesman Mark Regev reflected the government line, saying "It's not our practice to respond to every allegation out there in the media, not in this case, or in any case."

On Thursday, Sudanese officials said foreign warplanes carried out two separate air strikes last month on Sudan near its border with Egypt, targeting convoys packed with light weapons and African migrants trying to sneak across the frontier.

Mubarak Mabrook Saleem, Sudan's state minister for transportation, said he believed American planes were behind the bombings, which took place about a week apart in early February and claimed hundreds of lives. A Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed his account but said there were discrepancies on casualties. The US denied any air strike on Sudan.

CBS news reported Wednesday that Israel was behind the attacks, which it said killed 39 people in 17 trucks.

A new report by Sudanese sources also cited a strike on a ship, possibly making its way to Sudan from Iran.

"There were indeed two strikes in Sudan, in January and February," Sudan's deputy transportation minister told Channel 10 on Thursday evening. "I cannot confirm that Israel or the US were behind the attack, but I know that the US controls the airspace there," he said.

"The second strike was against a ship at sea and it was completely destroyed," another Sudanese official said.

The allegations come after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on March 4 for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. He's accused by the court of orchestrating a counterinsurgency against Darfur rebels that has involved rapes, killings and other atrocities against civilians.

A new Egyptian newspaper, Al-Shurooq, was the first to report Tuesday on Saleem saying two convoys trying to cross into Egypt were bombed by American jets. It said there were suspicions that the convoys carried weapons for Gaza.

According to Saleem, the first strike hit 16 vehicles carrying 200 people from various African countries being smuggled across the border. It also carried some "light weapons" such as Kalashnikovs for protection, he said.

In the second attack on February 11, he said 18 vehicles were hit and they were only carrying immigrants, not weapons. He claimed several hundred people were killed in each bombing and said the first strike was about a week before the February 11 attack, but did not give a date.

"The technology used in the attacks was so sophisticated, they must have been American," Saleem said. "This is the first time such an incident happens."

A Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ali Youssef, confirmed the air strikes.

"The incident took place," Youssef said. "There are discrepancies in casualties." He said the Sudanese government would soon release a statement to clarify what it knew.

The US denied any recent air strikes in or around Sudan.

"The US military has not conducted any air strikes, fired any missiles, or undertaken any combat operations in or around Sudan since the US Africa Command formally began operations October 1," said Vince Crawley, a spokesman for the command.

The State Department's acting deputy spokesman, Gordon Duguid, also said Thursday that "nothing I have seen indicates any US involvement in this incident at all," when asked about possible US assistance in the raid. He declined to speculate on Israel participation in the strike, referring questions to the Israeli government.

Duguid did, however, stress the importance America places on ending smuggling into Gaza.

"We are concerned that weapons are being sent to Hamas," he said. "Smuggling has been a problem in the Gaza Strip, and that is one of the things that everyone is working to resolve, particularly the Egyptians are working to resolve, in order to help bring peace back to Gaza."

In January, at the end of Operation Cast Lead, the US and Israel signed an agreement calling for an international effort to stanch the flow of weapons to Hamas. There was much talk at the time of the need to stem the arms flow before the weapons even reached the tunnels on the Sinai-Gaza border.

Saleem said both air strikes came around 2 a.m. and in very foggy conditions in a barren, desert area.

He acknowledged that both weapons and people were smuggled through Sudan to Egypt.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor, who accompanied President Bashir on a visit to Egypt on Wednesday, denied Sudan supplied Hamas with weapons and said he had no information about the strikes.

An Egyptian security official said a weapons deal for Gaza was foiled before it reached Egypt.

Brenda Gazzar, Haviv Rettig Gur and Hilary Leila Krieger contributed to this report.

Offline David Rothscum

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Re: US/Israel bomb Sudan, 39 dead
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2009, 03:47:25 pm »
U.S. Officials Confirm Israeli Strike in Sudan
March 27, 2009 - JERUSALEM, Israel - A report in The New York Times alleges that two U.S. officials confirmed an Israel Air Force (IAF) air strike in January on a weapons convoy in Sudan.

According to the article, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard operative traveled to Sudan to coordinate the weapons transfer.

A related report in the Israeli daily Ha'aretz suggests the high likelihood that Israel military and intelligence believed the convoy contained Iranian-made Fajr rockets, which are capable of hitting Tel Aviv, Israel's largest metropolitan area, from the Gaza Strip. The rocket has a range of 43 miles.

The Times report states that Sudan consulted Egypt on the convoy.

"[The army] took all the necessary procedures and contacted parties of concern with this issue," the article quoted Sudanese army spokesman Osman al-Agbash as having said.

The number of casualties has varied widely among the various media sources reporting the attack.

A Los Angeles Times story quoted Sudanese officials claiming that hundreds of refugees were killed in three separate convoys.

One source claimed American warplanes bombed the convoy.

Some reports estimated 30 casualties in a convoy consisting of four to five trucks, while others claimed 39 casualties and a 17-vehicle convoy.

Meanwhile, senior Hamas operative Salah Bardaweel said the convoy wasn't transporting weapons to the Gaza Strip and Israel bombed the convoy just to attack Sudan.

Sources: YNet news, Reuters, The Associated Press, Ha'aretz

Offline Biggs

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Re: US confirms Israel bombed Sudan, 39 dead
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2009, 01:23:33 pm »
Israeli air strikes on Sudan convoys
Paul Woodward


March 29, 2009

Israeli air strikes on three convoys smuggling African migrants through Sudan killed "more than 100 people" and perhaps as many as 800, according to Sudanese officials. A Western official alleged that the convoys were part of a smuggling network supplying weapons from Iran to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

While the first attack is said to have taken place on January 27 it was not reported until this week. The Sudanese minister for highways said a second air strike occurred on Feb 11.

Al Jazeera also reported on Friday a Sudanese official's claim that Israel had sunk a ship carrying weapons.

The Sudanese army issued a statement on Thursday saying it was aware of an air strike, apparently launched by Israeli war planes, when it happened in January.

"The spokesperson of Sudan's military Osman Al-Agbash said that the army 'took all necessary procedures and contacted parties of concern with this issue'," the Paris-based Sudan Tribune reported.

"The London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted the military spokesperson as saying that they consulted with the Egyptians and other parties through the foreign ministry.

"Asked why the incident was not made public when it occurred, Al-Agbash said that 'the government and specialised agencies determine the right time for that [disclosure]'.

"However it appeared that Khartoum was hesitant to confirm the report after an ex-rebel leader from eastern Sudan unexpectedly revealed it in a press conference this week."

The Los Angeles Times said: "The attacks were not reported in the country's newspapers, suggesting that the government was embarrassed to acknowledge that its sovereignty and air space could be violated so easily."

The Wall Street Journal said: "A Western official briefed on the strikes said Israel hit Sudan at least twice between late January and early February to cut off smuggling networks into Gaza. The official said the operations were part of Israel's efforts to promote 'active deterrence' after the Gaza war.

"On Jan 16, the US and Israel signed an agreement to work together against arms smuggling into Gaza that included sharing intelligence, as the US pressed Israel to end its siege of the territory."

At that time, The Jerusalem Post reported: "The agreement also has the support of the incoming US leadership, according to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.

" 'It commits the United States,' he said, noting [then-secretary of state Condoleezza] Rice had discussions with incoming secretary of state Hillary Clinton concerning the matter.

" 'I think it's safe to assume that we wouldn't have moved forward if we hadn't done some careful consultations prior to signing this with the incoming folks,' he said."

The Memorandum of Understanding between Israel and the United States stated: "The United States and Israel will assist each other... through enhanced sharing of information and intelligence that would assist in identifying the origin and routing of weapons being supplied to terrorist organisations in Gaza."

Retired Israeli military officers say the attacks in Sudan would likely have been impossible without American intelligence.

Isaac Ben-Israel, a former Israeli Air Force general told the Journal: "If the attack happened as reported, it means leaders in the US have taken seriously what they promised to do at the end of the operation in Gaza, and that is to block the smuggling of weapons into Gaza."

The report said: "Both the US and Egyptian governments have in recent weeks raised with Sudan's government their concerns that the African country has become a major facilitator for Gaza-bound weapons being smuggled into Egypt, according to officials briefed on the diplomatic exchanges. Washington sent a formal complaint to Khartoum demanding Sudan's government 'cease smuggling arms into Egypt', according to a US official. The official would not provide an exact date.

"Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak raised a similar complaint with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during the African strongman's visit to Cairo this week, according to a diplomat briefed on the meeting. The Egyptians are particularly concerned that Sudan is becoming an arms partner of Iran and aiding Tehran in moving weapons to the militant group Hamas, which is based in the Gaza Strip.

"Since the Gaza war ended Jan 18, Israeli security officials say Egypt has bolstered its troop numbers along the Sudanese border, and Cypriot authorities last month seized the cargo of a ship alleged to be carrying Iranian arms to Palestinian militants in Gaza."

Shortly after the agreement between Israel and the US was signed, the US Navy twice boarded a Cypriot ship in the Red Sea that was travelling from Iran to Syria and believed to be carrying Iranian weapons bound for Hamas, ABC News reported.

"After the boardings were inconclusive, the United States asked Egypt and Cyprus to search the vessel when it made ports of call. Cypriot authorities ultimately found material that could be used to manufacture munitions, which they described as a violation of the UN ban on Iranian arms exports."

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted on Thursday at Israel's suspected role in the air strikes.

"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 political marketing 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."

On Friday the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat quoted unidentified Israeli officials saying that they tracked the weapons shipment and decided to destroy it when it reached Sudan.

Sudan was chosen due to its poor air defences, political instability, bad relations with the West and the indictment by the International Criminal Court against Sudan's President Bashir, the officials said.

In an analysis in Haaretz, Amos Harel suggested that the decision to risk an attack 1,400 kilometres from Israel must have been due to the belief that Iran was shipping a significant quantity of arms to Gaza, possibly including Fajr rockets that could strike Tel Aviv.

"Iran learned from the Sudan strike that Israel has excellent intelligence, and that it can, and will take the gamble of carrying out long-range strikes when the prize seems high enough. But Iran already knew that. The Sudan strike, if it indeed occurred, conveyed a deterrent message to Tehran, although it is still a long way to assuming that Israel can destroy Iran's nuclear programme. That would require wave after wave of bombers against a large number of sites, most of which are deep underground.

"Former IAF commander Eitan Ben-Eliyahu said Thursday the main difficulty in such an attack is precise intelligence. Getting there requires a flight of about two and a half hours, presumably on a southerly flight path along the Red Sea coast, below Saudi and Egyptian radar and with aerial refuelling...

"The presumed strike cost Israel in terms of revealing its intelligence capabilities. It may be assumed that Tehran launched an investigation after the strike to discover how intelligence about the convoy reached Israel. Nevertheless, it is difficult to imagine that Tehran will give up on future missions. The Hamas project in Gaza is too important to it."

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