March 12, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) announced Wednesday that strict guidelines were issued not to receive a ship which was seized last week by Israeli navy commandos in the Red Sea off the Sudanese coast.
- Israeli naval officer stand next to dozens of rockets on display after being seized from the Panama-flagged KLOS C civilian cargo ship that Israel intercepted last Wednesday off the coast of Sudan, at a military port in the Red Sea city of Eilat, southern Israel, Monday, March 10, 2014 (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A statement released by an unidentified NISS media director underscored the commitment of Sudan to peace and stability of the Red Sea region and its acclaimed role in combating all forms of transnational organized crimes, human trafficking and weapons smuggling.
The official said that that investigation conducted by NISS concluded that the vessel was unrelated to any Sudanese party.
Israel, which hauled the Panamanian-flagged ship to Eilat port, said Syrian-made M-302 surface-to-surface missiles supplied by Iran were hidden in the cargo that were intended for Hamas Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Iran and Hamas have denied the accusations.
Along with the missiles, some 180 mortar shells and 400,000 rifle rounds were laid out in neat piles on a pier in the port of Eilat. A navy missile boat that took part in the raid was docked behind the display.
The United States also announced that the interception of this ship was a product of joint cooperation between Washington and Tel Aviv.
The NISS pointed out that the arrival of any vessel to Port Sudan is normal considering it is open to all ships except Israel noting that the port is an important station for maintenance and refueling.
It also emphasized the efficiency of Sudan security services that are known for their excellence and professionalism.
The security apparatus further said it is mindful of its role in the achievement of international peace and security in the context of its commitment to a world of harmony and peace.
The statement did not explain why the ship is now banned entry even though a senior Sudanese foreign ministry official who spoke to Sudan Tribune last week accused Israel of spreading “lies” in order to pre-empt action it secretly plans to carry out.
It is widely believed that Israel carried out at least two airstrikes in eastern Sudan in 2009 and 2011 against targets involved in arms smuggling to Gaza militants.
In October 2012, Sudan accused Israel of being behind air strikes that targeted the Al-Yarmouk arms factory in Khartoum.
The Jewish state never confirmed or denied its role in these attacks.