October 24, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has blamed an Israeli airstrike for the explosion of a military factory in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday, warning that it reserves the right to respond, while Tel Aviv maintained the usual silence in response to the charge.
- Sudanese demonstrators hold banners and chant anti-Israeli slogans during a protest in Khartoum on October 24, 2012, as the Sudanese cabinet prepared to hold an urgent meeting regarding the Israeli missile strike that hit a military factory. Sudan has accused Israel of the attack and has threatened to take action.
Sudan’s Minister of Media, Ahmad Bilal Osman, made the charge during a press conference held in Khartoum on Wednesday, saying Khartoum has evidence of Tel Aviv’s involvement in the destruction of Al-Yarmook factory in the southern suburbs of Khartoum at midnight.
Officials in Khartoum initially dismissed the existence of a hostile action behind the incident which spread panic in the capital, saying it was caused by an internal and accidental factor despite rumours by citizens about sounds of rockets prior to the explosion.
According to Osman, a team of technicians confirmed after examining the residues of the weapons used in the strike that there is compelling evidence indicating that the attack was executed by Israeli weapons. He vowed that Sudan will not remain silent and reserves the right to respond at the right time and place.
Meanwhile, Israel declined to confirm or deny Sudan’s accusations as was the case when Khartoum accused Tel Aviv of being behind two airstrikes, in 2011 and 2009, in eastern Sudan against the smuggling of arms to the Gaza strip which is controlled by the Islamic militant group Hamas.
The Sudanese minister said that their accusation against the Jewish state did not come out of thin air but was based on evidence and accounts of eye witnesses confirming that four planes entered the country from the east had destroyed the factory using high-level technology that jammed radars at Khartoum airport.
Osman dismissed the possibility that neighbouring South Sudan or internal rebel groups were behind the attack saying only Israel has the kind of high technology with which the attack was carried out.
He said that the Israelis previously expressed their concern about the factory because they think it threatens their security. But he strongly denied that the factory was being used for the production of advanced and nuclear weapons.
The minister further said that Israel decided to destroy the factory based upon incorrect intelligence that Al-Yarmook was producing advanced weapons as was the case in the two attacks in eastern Sudan. He insisted that the factory only used to produce small and traditional arms.
Sudanese authorities shut down the opposition-affiliated Ray Al-Sha’b newspaper in May 2010 after it published a report talking about the construction of an Iranian weapon factory in Sudan as part of military cooperation between the two countries to produce nuclear weapons.
Osman said that Sudan intends to file an official complaint to the UN Security Council (UNSC), and also told the BBC that his country is planning more decisive action against Israeli interests saying they are legitimate targets.
Later on, Sudan envoy to the UNSC Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman reported the accusation to the council’s 6851st meeting, saying his country expects the UNSC to condemn the alleged aggression because it represents a violation of the UN principles and threatens peace and security in the region. The envoy later said he intends to submit a written complaint against Tel Aviv.
The minister of media said in his press conference in Khartoum that 60 percent of Al-Yarmook ammunition factory was completely destroyed while 40 percent was partially destroyed. He revealed that the government had plans to relocate the factory to an area outside of the capital “but the Israelis knew this and decided to attack preemptively”
Sudan talks of army infiltration behind Israeli attack
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Sudanese army (SAF), Al-Sawarmi Khalid Saad, suggested in the same press conference that an internal infiltration in the army could be responsible for facilitating the Israeli attack.
“Sudan is not in isolation from foreign plots and there could be an inside job and infiltration. This is normal in any army in the world” he stated.
Some Sudanese websites carried rumors late on Wednesday that a senior army officer was arrested from his house in Khartoum but this could not be independently verified.