Two people were killed in an attack on a car near Port Sudan on Tuesday, which police suggested was a missile fired from the sea, while state media and a regional government official blamed a foreign aircraft.

Witnesses at the scene near the airport at Sudan's main port city said the small car was destroyed and the two charred bodies of its passengers could be seen.

"A missile from an unknown source probably bombed the car," police spokesman Ahmed Al-Tahmi told Reuters. He earlier told local radio the missile had likely been fired from the Red Sea.

The Sudanese Media Centre, a news agency linked to Sudan's state security apparatus, and the speaker of the Red Sea state parliament, Ahmed Tahir, said an unidentified aircraft had flown into Sudanese air space to bomb the car.

The plane came in from the Red Sea and flew back after the bombing, Tahir said. The Sudanese Media Centre said the army responded with missiles that the foreign plane managed to evade.

"We heard three loud explosions," a source at Port Sudan airport told Reuters. "We went outside to see what was happening and eye witnesses told us they saw two helicopters which looked liked Apaches flying past."

Tahir said the two people killed were travelling into the town from the airport when their car was hit. They have not been identified.

Sudan's foreign ministry declined to comment. Sudan's army was not immediately available to comment.

This is not the first time mystery has surrounded a strike in Sudan's eastern Red Sea state.

In January 2009, a convoy of arms smugglers was hit by unidentified aircraft in Sudan's eastern Red Sea state according to Sudanese authorities, a strike that some reports said may have been carried out by Israel to stop weapons that most probably came from Iran and were bound for Gaza.

A total of 119 people were killed in that strike near Sudan's border with Egypt, according to state media.

Following the 2009 attack, there were reports that Israeli aircraft were operating against smuggling ships intending on transferring weapons to Hamas in Gaza.

The area of Sudan serves as a smuggling area for weapons provided by Iran, as well as weapons purchased in the black markets of Yemen, Somalia, and Eritrea.

Israeli officials, including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, have spoken about "the long arm" of Israel which reaches areas far from its borders, and also suggested Israeli presence around the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.