The government of Sudan has blamed Israel for launching a military air strike that killed two people travelling in car near the city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast.
We have indications that the attack was carried out by Israel,” said Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Ahmad Karti, according to Agence France Presse (AFP) in the capitol Khartoum.
“We are absolutely sure of this.”
The two victims have not yet been identified.
A plane bombed a small car which was coming from Port Sudan airport to the town ... There were two people in the car and both were killed. The vehicle was completely destroyed, Mohammed Tahir, the speaker of the Red Sea state parliament, told AFP.
Sudanese police earlier stated they thought the missile originated from the direction of the Red Sea, while other sources claimed two helicopters may have committed the strike.
We heard three loud explosions, a witness at Port Sudan airport told Reuters.
Eyewitnesses told us they saw two helicopters which looked like Apaches [helicopter] flying past.
No party has claimed responsibility for the attack.
There is speculation that if Israel indeed carried out the strike, it was done to prevent the shipment of arms to Gaza. In January 2009, Israel is suspected to have carried a similar military strike on a convoy of arms smugglers in eastern Sudan. At least forty people were killed in that incident.
Ehud Olmert, that prime minister of Israel at that time, said we operate everywhere where we can hit terror infrastructure - in close places and in places further away.
The Palestinian Hamas organization, which controls Gaza, is reportedly on friendly terms with the regime in Khartoum and keeps a training camp in Sudan.
Regarding the latest strike, a BBC reporter commented that “reports of the incident are contradictory and much remains speculation. Nonetheless it looks as though this attack could be one more reminder of the shadowy war that is being waged along Sudan's Red Sea coast. The intelligence-gathering is constant. Engagements though are few and far between.”
The BBC reporter also noted that “the struggle pits the Israeli military against well-organized arms smugglers seeking to get weaponry into the Gaza Strip. Of course Israel is not the only country potentially responsible for the missile attack. The US too on occasion has fired missiles at alleged terror targets in Sudan. But this attack against individuals who were clearly considered specific targets suggests a complex intelligence-driven operation. It could well have countering arms-smuggling as its goal.”