In Sudan Blast, Signs of Iran and Israel’s Rivalry
CAIRO (AP) — A suspected Israeli airstrike against a weapons factory in Khartoum last week points to a possible escalation in a hidden front of the rivalry between Israel and Iran: The arms pipeline through Sudan to Islamic militants on Israel’s borders.
Mystery still surrounds the blast, which killed four people. But analysts say the incident could indicate Iran is trying to send more advanced weapons via Sudan to Hamas in the Gaza Strip or Hezbollah in Lebanon — and that Israel has become more determined to stop it at a time of increased tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.
Consensus has built among Israeli and Arab military analysts that the explosion just after midnight last Wednesday at the Yarmouk factory was indeed an Israeli airstrike as Sudan has claimed. Israel says it neither confirms nor denies being behind it. Sudan, in turn, denied on Monday that Iran had any connection to the factory’s production.
In a show of support for the two countries’ alliance, two Iranian warships — a helicopter carrier and destroyer that had been conducting anti-piracy patrols off East Africa’s coast — docked this week at Sudan’s main Red Sea port. The Iranian commanders were holding talks with Sudanese officers as part of the countries’ “exchange of amicable relations,” Sudan’s military spokesman said.