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Mystery Surrounds Overnight Explosions in Sudan

A "flying object similar in appearance to a plane or a missile."

An Arabic media outlet quoted residents of a city in Sudan who said Israeli jets hit a weapons plant, but the Sudanese military said it had intercepted a suspicious flying object. (Screenshot: YouTube)

Residents of a city in Sudan said they heard explosions in the vicinity of a weapons factory early Wednesday, but explanations for the incident ranged from a military strike on the weapons plant, the shooting down of a plane, missile or drone, and the interception of a “suspicious object.”

The London-based Arabic publication Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed quoted residents of Omdurman who reported Wednesday that foreign fighter jets may have struck a nearby weapons factory overnight. The Israeli news site Globes reported that the factory manufactures long-range missiles.

The Times of Israel, quoting the Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed account, reported that witnesses said there were large explosions at a nearby military installation.

Witnesses told the Arabic outlet that they thought the planes were Israeli, though it was not clear, especially since the explosions occurred in the dark of night, how they could have identified Israeli aircraft.

A Sudanese army spokesman denied that the factory had been struck and said that, instead, Sudanese anti-aircraft systems had intercepted an Israeli drone.

Colonel Alsoarmi Khaled Saad told Sky News in Arabic that Sudanese forces intercepted a "flying object similar in appearance to a plane or a missile."

Al-Mayadeen News in Lebanon quoted a Sudanese military statement which said it had successfully shot down an Israeli drone north of the capital of Khartoum.

The Israel Defense Forces did not issue a comment on the reports, but an unnamed Israeli official told Israel’s NRG news, “We don’t know about a drone that was shot down in Sudan.”

Globes noted that the weapons storage facility housed arms meant for shipping to Gaza and Islamist groups in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The Israeli outlet also reported that senior Sudanese military officials visited the site following the reports of the explosions.

Israeli military officials maintain that Sudan is a transfer point for Iranian arms, including long-range missiles, destined for Hamas militants in Gaza.

Hamas has launched thousands of missiles and rockets at Israeli cities.

In 2012, the Sudanese government accused Israel of attacking a the Yarmouk weapons factory outside the capital of Khartoum.

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