Israel accused of carrying out air strike on Sudanese soil

Olmert says his nation can hit every place 'near and far' in order to stop terror

Israel carried out air strikes in January on a convoy moving through Sudan which it believed to be carrying weapons destined for Hamas in Gaza, according to a report by the US television network CBS.

Two Sudanese politicians yesterday confirmed that unidentified aircraft targeted the convoy in a remote desert region north-west of Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast.

The outgoing Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, appeared to fuel speculation that his country's air force was behind the attack, which reportedly killed 39 people, when he said that "Israel hits every place it can in order to stop terror, near and far". CBS reported that Israeli intelligence had learnt of plans to move weapons north through Sudan into Egypt and then smuggle them into the Gaza Strip to Hamas. The report said that those killed were manning the 17-vehicle convoy, although a number of civilians had also been injured in the attack, which occurred in the same month as Israel's offensive in Gaza.

While Israeli defence officials had earlier appeared to pour cold water on the report that their aircraft had carried out the attack, Mark Regev, the spokesman for Mr Olmert, would only say that it was not Israel's practice "to respond to these sort of allegations when they arise in the press".

Interdiction of the convoy would certainly chime with Israeli intelligence warnings in the past that weapons destined for Hamas in Gaza were being shipped from Iran through the Persian Gulf and on to Sudan. Whether or not the attacks were carried out by Israeli warplanes, they appear to have been in the spirit of an agreement signed in the closing days of the Gaza offensive by Tzipi Livni, the Israeli Foreign Minister, and the outgoing US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, aimed at curbing arms traffic into Gaza.

The aims of the accord are thought not to have been confined to tightening controls on the Egypt/Gaza border itself but to have also referred to measures needed to stop Iranian-derived arms along earlier sections of the route.

As part of the post-war efforts to halt the arms smuggling, an international conference has been called in Ottawa for May – to be attended by Canada, the US, Israel, Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and Denmark.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the conference, the third to have taken place since the Gaza offensive, will be followed by a "war game" in Washington in which an international group of security officials will practise scenarios of foiling arms traffic from Iran to Gaza.

One of the Sudanese politicians claimed that there were "four orfive vehicles" in the convoy that had been hit, as opposed to the 17 cited in the CBS report, and that his colleagues had spoken to a witness. "There was an Ethiopian fellow, a mechanic," he said. "He was the only one who survived. He said they came in two planes. They passed over them then came back and they shot the cars. He couldn't tell the nationality of the aircraft. The aircraft destroyed the vehicles".

*The Israel Defence Forces produced figures of its own last night for Palestinian casualties during the Gaza offensive. It said that among the 1,166 Palestinians killed, 709 had been identified as "Hamas terror operatives, among them several from various other terror organisations". Another 162 men have not been yet attributed to any organisation, while 295 "uninvolved Palestinians" had died, including 89 minors and 49 women.

The numbers are at marked variance with those collected by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. It says 1,417 Palestinians died, including 926 civilians – 313 of whom were minors.

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game