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2009 Sudan air raids
Part of Operation Cast Lead
LocationSudan.svg
Type Air raid
Location western Sudan to Port Sudan, Sudan
Target Convoy of 17 trucks
Date January 2009
Executed by IAF
Casualties 39 - 800 killed

In January and February 2009, there was a series of two air strikes in Sudan and one in the Red Sea, allegedly conducted by Israel against Iranian arms being smuggled to the Gaza Strip through Sudan.[1][2] One involved unidentified aircraft attacking a convoy of suspected arms smugglers as it drove through Sudan toward Egypt in January 2009, killing almost everyone in the convoy. Initial media reports in Egypt and the United States have suggested US or Israeli aircraft may have carried out the strike,[3] but later Israeli government reports suggests a near confirmation that Israeli forces were involved in the incident.[4][5]

Contents

Raid

The convoy was reportedly carrying weapons bound for the Gaza Strip through Sudan during Operation Cast Lead and the attack was carried out by American aircraft, according to Sudanese State Minister for Highways Mabrouk Mubarak Saleem. He added that the death toll in the bombing was much higher than initial reports, and stood at 800 people. He also claimed that the trucks were filled with people, and did not contain weapons. According to a CBS News report, 39 people were killed when IAF warplanes bombed the convoy and all 17 trucks were destroyed.[6] Amos Harel, military correspondent for the Israeli daily Haaretz, wrote that the decision to strike in Sudan apparently originated in a belief that Iran was about to inject a significant quantity of arms into Gaza, possibly 70-kilometer-range Fajr-3 rockets. A story in The Sunday Times also reported that the trucks were transporting Fajr-3 rockets, which had been brought by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to the Port Sudan and given to local smugglers. The article also stated that the strike was conducted by unmanned Elbit Hermes 450s.[7] However, TIME reported that the strike was F-16s escorted by F-15s and UAVs.[8] On April 8, Yediot Aharonot, quoting an American source, reported that Israeli naval commando (Shayetet 13) forces were involved in the operation, which included an attack on an Iranian arms ship docking in Sudan.[9]

Former IAF commander Eitan Ben-Eliyahu said the main difficulty in such an attack is precise intelligence. Getting to the target requires a flight of about two and a half hours, presumably on a southerly flight path along the Red Sea coast, under the Saudi and Egyptian radar and with aerial refueling.[10]

The incident was first mentioned in mass media by CBS News[11] on March 25. On May 26, Sudanese defense minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein reported that the convoy was made up of 1,000 civilians and was involved in "a smuggling process at the border with Egypt".(The minister) disclosed that 119 people were killed; among them were 56 smugglers and 63 smuggled persons from Ethiopian, Somali and other nationalities".[12]

Reactions

Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadig said: "We are still trying to verify it. Most probably it involved Israel", and added that the convoys were probably smuggling goods, not weapons. He said "it is illegal to infringe the sovereignty of another country".[13] Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil told Agence France-Presse that "First of all we are not sure any convoy has been hit, but it is ironic to link these convoys to Hamas. Should it turn out that there were raids and a high number of people killed, this would mean Israel is seeking to use the opportunity to blame Hamas and hit Sudan".[14]

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said in a conference in Herzliya: "We operate everywhere we can hit terrorist infrastructure - in nearby places, in places further away, anywhere we can strike them in a way that increases deterrence. Everyone can use their imagination. Those who need to know, know there is no place where Israel cannot operate. Such a place doesn't exist".[13] On March 27, Two American official confirmed that Israeli warplanes bombed a convoy of trucks in Sudan. According to another Sudanese sources quoted by the al-Jazeera network, in one of the attacks Israel sank a ship carrying weapons.[15]

On March 28, the Lebanon-based group Hezbollah released a statement calling on Arab states to denounce the strikes and characterized them as an Israeli crime.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Exclusive: Three Israeli Airstrikes Against Sudan". ABC News. 2009-03-27. http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2009/03/exclusive-three.html. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  
  2. ^ "Report: Israel carried out 3 attacks on Sudan arms smugglers". Haaretz. 2009-03-28. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1074457.html. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  
  3. ^ "Sudanese officials confirm convoy strike". Ynetnews. 2009-03-26. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3692730,00.html. Retrieved 2009-12-30.  
  4. ^ Wood, Paul (2009-03-26). "Did Israel carry out Sudan strike?". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7966865.stm. Retrieved 2009-12-30.  
  5. ^ "Mystery over Sudan 'air strike'". BBC News. 2009-03-26. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7966627.stm. Retrieved 2009-12-30.  
  6. ^ "Strike reportedly obliterates Iranian ship at sea". The Jerusalem Post. 2009-03-26. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1237727547715&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull. Retrieved 2009-12-30.  
  7. ^ Mahnaimi, Uzi (2009-03-29). "Israeli drones destroy rocket-smuggling convoys in Sudan". London: The Sunday Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article5993093.ece. Retrieved 2009-03-29.  
  8. ^ "How Israel Foiled an Arms Convoy Bound for Hamas". TIME. 2009-03-30. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1888352,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  9. ^ "Report: Naval commando forces involved in Sudan strike". Ynetnews. 2009-04-08. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3699142,00.html. Retrieved 2009-04-08.  
  10. ^ Harel, Amos (2009-03-27). "Sudan strike won't make Iran give up on Hamas". Haaretz. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1074314.html. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  
  11. ^ Raviv, Dan (2009-03-25). "U.S. Accused Of Killing 39 In Sudan Strike". World Watch (CBS News). http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/03/25/world/worldwatch/entry4892589.shtml. Retrieved 2009-12-30.  
  12. ^ "Air strike on Sudan convoy killed 119: state media". Reuters. 2009-05-25. http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE54O4FA20090525. Retrieved 2009-12-30.  
  13. ^ a b "Sudan says Israel 'most probably' behind attack". Haaretz. 2009-03-27. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1074411.html. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  
  14. ^ AFP (2009-03-29). "Sudan says no proof for now Israel behind raids". Ynetnews. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3693321,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  
  15. ^ "US sources say Israel struck in Sudan". Ynetnews. 2009-03-27. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3693083,00.html. Retrieved 2009-12-30.  
  16. ^ "Hezbollah denounces alleged airstrikes on Sudan". Associated Press. International Herald Tribune. 2009-03-28. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/03/28/news/ML-Lebanon-Hezbollah-Sudan.php. Retrieved 2009-03-28.  
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