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.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Chelsea are interested in loaning out Romelu Lukaku to Everton again next season
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
News
people
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series