Sudan claims Israel bombed Khartoum weapons factory
Sudan on Wednesday accused Israel of bombing a military factory in Khartoum, killing two, 18 months after it blamed Tel Aviv in a similar raid in Port Sudan. "We believe that Israel has carried out the bombing," said Sudan's Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman, during a press conference. "We reserve the right to respond in time and location of our choosing."
A series of explosions followed by fire reported late Tuesday night and early Wednesday in the Yarmouk military factory in the southern part of the Sudanese capital. According to the information minister, four planes were involved in the attack, carried out around midnight (2100 GMT) against the factory.
Evidence pointing to Israel was found among the remains of explosives, he said, adding that the government would convene an emergency meeting in the evening.
Minister Osman explained that the factory produces "traditional weapons" and that "the attack destroyed a part of the complex infrastructure, killing two people inside the facility and seriously wounded a third."
In Israel, the Foreign Ministry and the army have declined to comment.
In April 2011, Sudan accused Israel of being behind a mysterious air raid against a vehicle that killed two people in Port Sudan. Israel had made no comment. A similar raid was conducted by foreign aircraft on a weapons convoy in eastern Sudan in January 2009.
On Wednesday, inhabitants near Yarmouk factory said that a plane or a missile flew over the plant on the night of shortly before the explosion, which was followed by a fire.
Abdul Rahman Al-Khider Rahman, Governor of Khartoum Governorate, said several people were hospitalized because of toxic inhalations, without specifying their number. According to the spokesman of the Sudanese army, Sawarmi Khaled Saad, the fire broke out in a munitions storage.
In 1998, Human Rights Watch cited a coalition of opposition groups as saying that Khartoum was storing chemical weapons produced in Iraq in the Yarmouk plant, but Sudan has categorically denied these claims.
In August of the same year, the U.S. had attacked with missiles Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in North Khartoum, which Washington claimed was linked to the production of chemical weapons. But the U.S. allegations were never proven.