The Sudanese government is blaming Israel for carrying out the attack Wednesday on a weapons factory outside its capital Khartoum. Israeli officials are mum. But one prominent analyst points out that if Israeli Air Force (IAF) jets were behind the bombing, Israel will have carried out its longest distance bombing run ever. This would imply that, contrary to the assessment of skeptics, Israeli fighter aircraft would have the ability to reach and target Iranian nuclear facilities if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decides one day to carry out such an attack.
Sudanese Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said that four aircraft managed to evade radars and dropped bombs on the Yarmouk military manufacturing facility. "We think Israel did the bombing," AFP quoted him saying. "We reserve the right to react at a place and time we choose."
Asked to respond, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak refused to comment, telling Channel 2 News: "I have nothing I can say about the matter." He added, "I do not want to respond and will try not to express my emotions."
Israel Channel 2’s veteran Arab Affairs Analyst Ehud Yaari reported Wednesday evening that if the Sudanese are correct in accusing Israel, that would mean IAF jets traveled armed and undetected almost 1,200 miles to carry out the attack. Interestingly, he pointed out, this is almost the same distance that would be required to bomb Iran’s key nuclear facilities in Fordo and Natanz. Yaari said (as translated by TheBlaze):
…They [the Sudanese] say it was an attack by a squadron of four planes coming from the east, that is coming from over the Red Sea and attacked. If we look at a schematic map, look, the rough distance…from Israel to Khartoum it’s roughly 1,900 kilometers [1,180 miles]. From Israel to the major nuclear facilities in Iran – Fordo that’s marked on this map and Natanz that’s more or less the same distance - it’s a shorter distance of 1,600 kilometers [995 miles]. That means, if the Sudanese are right in their claims, we’re talking about the deepest strike that the Israeli Air Force has ever carried out. And that’s a signal, whether they intended it to be or not, a signal to the Iranians that it’s possible to traverse those kind of distances.
Yaari points out that Sudan has for years been a key station on the weapons’ smuggling route from Iran to Gaza. He says that Sudan and Iran have had a military cooperation agreement for more than four years. And on Thursday, Haaretz quoted Sudanese opposition sources who say the bombed arms factory belonged to Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Haaretz quotes past reports in the international press indicating Iranian-built weapons factories in Sudan were used to secretly arm Hamas terrorists in Gaza. It also reports that after the fall of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, the Revolutionary Guards’ al-Quds Force smuggled “dozens of antiaircraft and SA-24 missiles from the Libyan army's crumbling arsenals to Sudan, in order to later pass them on to Hamas” in Gaza.
In April 2011, Sudan blamed Israel for an airstrike on a car near Port Sudan. It also blamed Israel for 2009 attacks on weapons smuggling convoys in northeast Sudan reported to be carried out by pilotless drone. Israel did not comment on either strike.
The U.S. has included Sudan on its list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1993, and in 1998 launched a missile strike on a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, believing it to be manufacturing materials used in chemical weapons, an allegation Sudan denied.
Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan in the 1990s where he funded at least three terrorist training camps.