Israel Operates Inside Sudan, Israeli Official Says | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Israel Operates Inside Sudan, Israeli Official Says

An Israeli intelligence official for the first time confirmed that the Israeli military operates in Sudan, just days after the government in Khartoum accused Israel of bombing an arms factory outside the capital.

Officially, Israel has refused to comment on the accusations leveled by the Sudanese government. Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman, showcasing video and eyewitness reports, said Israel sent four warplanes to strike an arms factory on the outskirts of Khartoum before dawn Wednesday, killing two people and wounding several others.

Osman said it wasn't the first Israeli attack on Sudanese territory: In 2009, an arms convoy traveling through eastern Sudan was hit in an airstrike; in 2011, a missile struck a car near the city of Port Sudan killing two men. One of those men was a senior official and chief arms procurer for Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip.

Israel officials never publically confirm or deny their country's involvement in overseas operations. But speaking anonymously to NPR, an Israeli intelligence officer says that Israel does -– most definitely –- operate in Sudan.

He said Sudan has long been a playground for militants, adding it would be important for Israel to send the message that militants can't use Sudan as a way station for their arms and training camps.

The intelligence officer wouldn't allow NPR to quote him by name, as he was breaking military protocol by speaking about the attacks.

Efraim Inbar, the director of the Begin-Sadat Center, an Israeli think tank, says the reported Israeli actions seem plausible.

"It is very possible that Israel has taken defensive measures against sending weapons to terrorists," he said.

Hamas, Inbar says, has long had a base of operations in Sudan.

"Hamas is not new to Sudan," he said. "The Sudan regime has close links to radical Islamist groups."

To explain how weapons make their way from Africa to the Middle East, the intelligence officer took out a map of the region and drew a route for NPR with his finger.

The route starts on Sudan's east coast, traveling north by boat on the Red Sea to the Sinai peninsula, a notoriously lawless region where weapons smugglers operate freely outside the control of the Egyptian government. The northwesternmost tip of Sinai is where the peninsula meets the Gaza Strip. Officially, Egypt controls the border crossing with Gaza, but underneath the border, hundreds of smugglers tunnels transfer goods -– and occasionally weapons -– to Gaza.

Like many Israeli officials, the intelligence officer refused to answer questions about international law, and whether Israel routinely violates the sovereignty of a foreign state to carry out its military operations.

But he said whatever the Israeli military may or may not do is shared with Israel's friends in the West.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

An Updated 'Annie' And The Tradition Of Nontraditional Casting

As an African-American Annie arrives on movie screens, critic Bob Mondello looks at other cross-cultural reinventions, from Pearl Bailey's Dolly to the Americanization of Carmen as Carmen Jones.
NPR

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

For the Japanese, Christmastime means sponge cake. But a nationwide butter shortage has lead to mandatory butter rationing, forcing cake bakers to seek out substitutes.
NPR

Satanist And Christian Holiday Displays To Go Up At Michigan Capitol

The situation has brought controversy — and energized Christians who realized that a planned Nativity scene was in danger of being canceled.
NPR

Major Movie Theater Chains Drop 'The Interview' After Threats

Audie Cornish talks with LA Times Hollywood Editor Joe Bel Bruno about the latest surrounding hacker threats to Sony and theaters showing the film, The Interview.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.