October 28, 2012 in Nation/World

Images suggest airstrike at Sudan factory

Maggie Fick Associated Press
 

CAIRO – Satellite images of the aftermath of an explosion at a Sudanese weapons factory this past week suggest the site was hit in an airstrike, a U.S. monitoring group said Saturday.

The Sudanese government has accused Israel of bombing its Yarmouk military complex in Khartoum, killing two people and leaving the factory in ruins.

The images released by the Satellite Sentinel Project to the Associated Press on Saturday showed six 52-foot-wide craters near the epicenter of Wednesday’s explosion at the compound.

Military experts consulted by the project found the craters to be “consistent with large impact craters created by air-delivered munitions,” Satellite Sentinel Project spokesman Jonathan Hutson told the AP.

The target may have been around 40 shipping containers seen at the site in earlier images. The group said the craters center on the area where the containers had been stacked. It did not comment on the allegations of Israeli involvement or who might be behind the strikes.

Jonah Leff, who monitors Sudan for the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey and was not connected to the project, reviewed the images on Saturday and agreed with the group’s assessment.

Israeli officials have neither confirmed nor denied striking the site. Instead, they accused Sudan of playing a role in an Iranian-backed network of arms shipments to Hamas and Hezbollah. Israel believes Sudan is a key transit point in the circuitous route that weapons take to the Islamic militant groups in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

Sudan was a major hub for al-Qaida militants and remains a transit for weapon smugglers and African migrant traffickers. Israeli officials believe arms that originate in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas go through Sudan before crossing Egypt’s lawless Sinai desert and into Gaza through underground tunnels.

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