Sudan Denies Knowledge of Arms Shipment Seized By Israel – Official

Sudan-Karte

Sudan-Karte (Photo credit: linksfraktion)

5 March 2014

Khartoum — A senior official at Sudan’s ministry of foreign affairs said his country has nothing to do with the arms shipment that Israel claimed it seized in the Red Sea off the Sudanese coast.

The senior official, who preferred to stay anonymous, told Sudan Tribune that Sudan has absolutely nothing to do with this debate, accusing Israel of spreading “lies” in order to preempt unknown action it secretly plans to carry out.

Israel said on Wednesday it seized a vessel carrying advanced Iranian weapons made in Syria that was heading towards Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the Panamanian-flagged vessel was boarded by Israeli naval commandos in the Red Sea off the coast of Sudan.

The spokesperson of the IDF, Afikhai Adrei, said they had tracked the weapons for several months as they were flown from Damascus to Tehran and then taken to a port in southern Iran.

He said they found M-302 surface-to-surface missiles that were flown to Iran before being loaded onto the ship, pointing the vessel sailed out of Iran’s Bandar Abas sea

 

port through Iraq and was heading to Sudan’s sea port of Port Sudan before being intercepted by an Israeli special unit of navy commandos in the regional waters between Sudan and Eritrea.

Aderi added the vessel was being towed to the Israeli port of Eilat, a journey which would take several more days, where the 17-member crew will be questioned and the weapons unloaded, pointing the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz personally oversaw the operation.

The United States also announced that the interception of this ship was a product of joint cooperation between Washington and Tel Aviv.

“Throughout this time our intelligence and military activities were closely coordinated with our Israeli counterparts who ultimately chose to take the lead in interdicting this shipment of illicit arms,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said today.

“We will continue to stand up to Iran’s support for destabilizing activities in the region in coordination with our partners and allies,” he added.

It is widely believed that Israel carried out at least two airstrikes in eastern Sudan in 2009 and 2011 against targets involved in arms smuggling.

In October 2012 Sudan accused Israel of being behind air strikes that targeted Al-Yarmouk arms factory in Khartoum.

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http://allafrica.com/stories/201403060771.html?aa_source=slideout

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