Arab Parliament condemns 'brutal' Israeli attack on Sudanese military facility

Ahram Online, MENA , Sunday 28 Oct 2012

Israel violated international law and the UN Charter in attacking a Sudanese military facility, says Arab Parliament

Fire raging at the Yarmouk arms complex in Sudan's capital, Khartoum (Photo: Reuters)

The Arab Parliament condemned Sunday an Israeli airstrike on a military factory in Sudan that killed two, describing it as a "brutal" act.

In a statement issued in the Egyptian capital Cairo, the speaker of the Arab Parliament, Salem Al-Diqbassi, pointed out that the attack was the third Israeli aggression on Sudanese military facilities in a bid to weaken Khartoum's "defensive capabilities."

"We accuse Israel of violating Sudanese territorial sovereignty as well as the principles and rules of the international law and the UN Charter," he added.

Al-Diqbassi also called on the Arab League to hold an emergency session to examine the implications of the Israeli attack, given that Sudan is a member-state of the United Nations and the Arab League.

A huge explosion ripped through a Sudanese munitions factory near the capital Khartoum Tuesday, killing two, with Sudan swiftly accusing Israel of sending four military planes to take out the complex.

The poor Muslim East African state, with ties to Iran and Sunni jihadis, has long been seen by Israel as a conduit for weapons smuggled on to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip via Sinai.

Israel has not confirmed or denied carrying out attacks on Sudanese targets. But Israeli defence officials admit placing a high priority on tracking arms trafficking through the country.

The monitoring, one retired official told Reuters, dates back to the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which waged a 2008-2009 war on Gaza, ostensibly to crush Palestinian rocket fire. It found itself fending off fierce censure abroad over the civilian toll of that war.

Since early 2009, shortly before the centrist Olmert was succeeded by the right-wing Binyamin Netanyahu, Sudan has accused Israel of carrying out several strikes on its territory.

The sense of a far-flung covert campaign was further fuelled by the Israelis' alleged assassination of a senior Hamas armourer in Dubai in 2010 and the abduction for trial of a suspected Palestinian rocket expert from Ukraine the following year.

Foreign intelligence sources also said Israel carried out an unmanned drone raid on a convoy south of Khartoum last month that destroyed 200 tons of munitions, including rockets, intended for Gaza.

Tuesday's attack on the Sudanese munitions factory was different to previous incidents, however, in that a state asset was hit. In a further suggestion of escalation by Israel, witnesses said the sortie was carried out by piloted fighter jets.

A Swiss-published 2009 Small Arms Survey sponsored by several European governments found that Iran was a major supplier of light munitions to Sudan. Khartoum has not said whether Iran was in any way involved in the factory that was bombed. 

Given the 1,900 kilometre distance between Israel and Sudan, some Israeli commentators saw in the alleged raid a warning to Iran, whose similarly remote nuclear facilities the Netanyahu government has hinted it could attack should diplomatic efforts to shut them down fail.

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