October 25, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The speaker of the Sudanese parliament, Ahmad Ibrahim Al-Tahir, declared on Thursday that the Israeli attack on Al-Yarmook arms factory will not deter his country from continuing its support to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
- Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir (R) welcomes Hamas’s political chief Khaled Meshaal before a meeting in Khartoum March 6, 2011. REUTERS
During an emergency meeting of the parliament’s affairs committee in the capital Khartoum, Al-Tahir stressed that the “Israeli aggression” will not prevent Sudan from fulfilling its duties towards the causes of the Arab and African people.
“If Israel is targeting Sudan because of its stand on the side of the Palestinian resistance, then Sudan will continue down that road as dictated by the religion, history and fate it shares with the Palestinian people” he added.
Israel neither denied nor confirmed responsibility for the airstrike that Sudan says caused the destruction of Al-Yarmook military factory in the capital Khartoum at the midnight of Tuesday, 23 October. But it is known that the Jewish state sees the predominantly Muslim east African country as an ally of its arch enemy Iran as well as a conduit for arms smuggling activities toward the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Al-Tahir warned that by this attack Israel has rendered itself in “a state of war” with Sudan and that the latter will respond in kind. The parliament later issued a statement condemning Israel for “using high-tech[nolegy] to execute a criminal deed that violated all laws”.
For its part, Hamas issued a statement on Thursday condemning the alleged Israeli attack saying it proves that Tel Aviv “continues to violate international laws and international norms, and to exercise state terrorism not only against Palestinian people.” The statement reiterated Hamas’s support to the people and government of Sudan, and praised their backing of Palestinian people and their rights.
In a related development, Sudanese authorities alleged on Thursday that the attack, which Khartoum says was executed by four fighter jets that used high-technology to jam the country’s radars and violate its airspace, could have had worse effects if it was not for their quick response.
The commissioner of Khartoum State, Omer Nimir, said that the competent authorities managed to contain the damage inflicted on the factory and defuse many bombs before they exploded.
Meanwhile, Sudanese officials continue to fulminate against the attack, which Khartoum alleges killed two people.
Sudan President Omer Al-Bashir, in a speech before the emergency meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday, accused Israel of targeting Sudan because of its position against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
He also said that the attack’s aim was to weaken Sudan’s defense capabilities and stop its progress in the field of military production.
Sudan claims the factory was only used for the production of light weapons. The country’s media minister Ahmad Bilal Osman said on Wednesday that Israel attacked the factory based upon false intelligence that it was being used for the production of nuclear arms.
A Sudanese opposition daily was shut down in 2010 after it published a report alleging that a military factory in Khartoum was being used to manufacture and supply arms to Hamas, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Al-Shabab in Somalia. Sudan and Iran signed a military cooperation agreement in 2008.
Al-Yarmook is affiliated to Sudan’s Military Industry Corporation whose website says it also runs two other military factories, both located in Khartoum. MIC claims its products conform to the international civil and military standards.
The Sudanese President acknowledged that Sudan will not be able to import defense systems to prevent jamming of its radars or counter the high technology with which the attack was carried out. He however said that the only hope is to continue their reliance on “local minds” and support of scientific research in order to develop high-level military technology.
Al-Bashir promised that the authorities will compensate the citizens who lost properties as a result of the attack, and lauded the joint stand of Sudanese people against the attack that targeted their gains and those of the country as a whole.
Vice-President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha told a gathering of supporters in front of the cabinet building in Khartoum following Wednesday’s meeting that “it’s time for this state [Israel] be put in her place”.
The leadership bureau of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) also held an emergency meeting that lasted until the early hours of Thursday under the chairmanship of President Omer Al-Bashir.
Following the meeting, the NCP issued a statement urging world powers and friendly states to condemn the attack in the strongest terms and apply international law against the perpetrators.
The statement maintained that Sudan reserves the right to respond to the attack and called on the government to wage an international outreach campaign to condemn it.