Sudan’s longtime ties to Iran — and the two nations’ roles in arming Islamic militants — have come under scrutiny in the wake of an explosion at a Khartoum weapons factory, blamed on an Israeli airstrike, and the dockings of two Iranian warships at a Sudanese port.
Sudanese officials have accused Israel of bombing the Yarmouk military complex Oct. 24. Satellite images of the site suggest that it was hit in an airstrike, according to the Satellite Sentinel Project, a U.S. monitoring group.
Last week, two Iranian warships arrived at Port Sudan. Sudanese and Iranian officials say the ships are on a routine visit.
“Within hours of the explosions, Iran dispatched military advisers to consult with the government of Sudan about the explosions at the arms plant,” said Jonathan Hutson, a spokesman for the Satellite Sentinel Project.
The target at Yarmouk may have been the 40 shipping containers that satellite images show were stacked at the site days before the explosion.
U.S. officials have not come to a similar conclusion about Sudanese compliance.
“I don’t think we know enough about the extent to which the Sudanese government is complicit in assisting these smugglers,” said a former U.S. official who spoke on background.
“The Israelis feel that they have made a direct connection between weapons from Sudan to weapons in the hands of militants in that area,” he added.
TheSatellite Sentinel Project said in its report on the Yarmouk incident that the impact craters were “consistent with craters created by air-delivered munitions.”
The report, based on eyewitness accounts and satellite imagery, concluded that “the sky was ‘red from fireballs,’ and that three fighter jets were ‘flying fast around southern Khartoum, to the northwest and northeast,’ as a fourth, larger plane flew to the northeast at a much higher altitude.”View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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