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There are unconfirmed claims that Iran is involved in some capacity at the factory, and that the factory could be used to assemble Iranian arms bound for Islamic militants.

“The nature of the Sudanese-Iranian cooperation is mysterious, but there were reports that there are military expertise and experts involved,” said Hani Raslan of the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.

Mr. Raslan also said he suspects the attack on the plant was part of an effort to weaken the Iranian arms smuggling network.

Gen. Sameh Seif Elyazal, a former Egyptian army general, told The Associated Press he learned from private conversations with Israel officials conveyed through reliable sources that the strike was carried out against weapons assembled in the factory “under Iranian supervision,” bound for the Hamas and Hezbollah.

Iran supplies weapons to Sudan, and in 2008 the two nations signed an agreement to strengthen bilateral military relations.

Iran also has invested in water and engineering projects during Gen. Bashir’s more than two decades in power. Iran’s efforts to maintain Sudan as a reliable ally would enable it to transfer weapons through Sudan’s vast territory.