Israel behind mystery airstrike in Sudan?

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The New York Times is today reporting that Israeli warplanes attacked a convoy of trucks in Sudan in January to block a suspected arms delivery to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.
Reuters reports the newspaper’s website quotes unnamed US officials as saying Israel carried out the attack, in which at least 30 people were killed, to stop weapons being transported to Gaza during its offensive against Hamas.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Thursday that Israel acted “wherever we can” to strike at its enemies, but did not specifically mention the attack in Sudan.
“There’s no point getting into details — everyone can use his imagination. The fact is, whoever needs to know, knows. Whoever needs to know, knows there is no place where the state of Israel cannot act,” the outgoing premier said.
The New York Times says US officials who had access to classified information believed Iran was involved in the effort to smuggle weapons to Gaza. There had been intelligence reports that an operative with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps had gone to Sudan to coordinate the effort.
Israeli forces pounded Gaza for three weeks in January, to halt rocket attacks by Palestinian militants and destroy the smuggling tunnels they build under the border with Egypt.
Israel signed an agreement with the United States in January that pledged international efforts to choke off arms smuggling. It has accused Iran of being a main weapons supplier to Gaza.
Reports from Sudan quoted a lone survivor of the attack as saying two planes flew over the convoy then came back and shot up the “four or five” trucks.
Reuters earlier quoted the CBS News network as saying its security correspondent was told that Israeli aircraft had attacked the convoy in January, killing over 30 people, to block an arms delivery to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.
“We are taking action wherever we can strike terror infrastructure, in places that are nearby and not that close,” Olmert said in a wide-ranging speech in Herzliya.
“We are hitting them, and in a way that strengthens deterrence and the image of deterrence — which is sometimes no less important — of the state of Israel.”
“There’s no point getting into details — everyone can use his imagination. The fact is, whoever needs to know, knows. Whoever needs to know, knows there is no place where the state of Israel cannot act,” the outgoing premier added.
Israeli media including the Ynet website described his remarks at hinting at Israeli involvement in the Sudan strike.
Military commentators said it never hurts to have your enemies believe you can carry out attacks over a great distance, as Israel’s do, and that you do not hesitate to do so.
An Israeli official would neither confirm nor deny that Israel had carried out the attack in Sudan.
“We have major problems with Sudan as a source of contraband arms. The Egyptians cannot be relied upon to patrol that big, porous border,” he said on condition of anonymity. 
Some in Egypt don’t even recognise there is a border. We are also cognizant of the close ties between Egypt and Sudan that might make the former reluctant to act against the latter.”
According to a blog by the CBS correspondent, Israeli intelligence was said to have discovered that weapons were being trucked to Sudan and were to have been smuggled into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip via Egypt.
Israeli forces pounded Gaza for three weeks in January, to halt rocket attacks by Palestinian militants and destroy the smuggling tunnels they build under the border with Egypt.
Israel signed an agreement with the United States in January that pledged international efforts to choke off arms smuggling. It has accused Iran of being a main weapons supplier to Gaza.
Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, a former chief of the Israeli air force, said Israel’s air force was certainly capable of carrying out a 1400-km (840-mile) roundtrip mission to Sudan.
“If the corridor is clear — over the sea, for example, then it is easier, and you can re-fuel the aircraft in mid-air,” Ben-Eliyahu told Army Radio.
“Sudan in general is not covered — definitely most of its territory — by radar defences, and therefore they don’t know you’re coming into distant desert areas,” he said.
Reports from Sudan quoted a lone survivor of the attack as saying two planes flew over the convoy then came back and shot up the “four or five” trucks. 
Israel’s air force has advanced missiles that can be fired from high altitude, possibly well outside a country’s airspace, and coast into a target using optical data fed by satellites.
Low altitude visual identification would only be needed if it was necessary to verify the identity of the target.
Earlier this month, Olmert told his cabinet that Israel had carried out “countless major, important and decisive” covert operations during his term, Israeli political sources said.
In September 2007 Israeli aircraft bombed a site in Syria that US intelligence said was a nearly completed secret nuclear reactor. Syria has said the target was a conventional military building. News of that attack also took months to emerge – and finally came from US, not Israeli or Syrian sources. 
In 1981, Israeli aircraft crippled Iraq’s Osirak nuclear plant in a surprise long-range strike to prevent the late Saddam Hussein developing an atomic bomb.