Hamas: No Gaza-bound arms on Sudan convoy
Hamas official al-Bardawil calls reports pretext to attack Sudan; Sudan Minister: U.S. planes hit convoys.
Hamas denied on Thursday reports that a convoy that was attacked in Sudan earlier in the year was carrying weapons bound for the Islamist militant group in Gaza.
Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil said in a statement that the reports were a false pretext to declare war on Sudan.
Meanwhile, a Sudanese minister said on Thursday he believed American planes were behind the alleged bombing of convoys that were smuggling weapons and migrants to Egypt destined for Gaza.
"The technology used in the attacks was so sophisticated, they must have been American," said Mubarak Mabrook Saleem, Sudan's State Minister for Transportation. "This is the first time such an incident happens."
According to Saleem, the first strike hit 16 vehicles carrying 200 people from various African countries being smuggled across the border. It also carried some "light weapons" such as Kalashnikovs, he said.
In the second attack on Feb. 11, he said 18 vehicles were hit and they were only carrying immigrants, not weapons. He claimed several hundred people were killed in each bombing and said the first strike was about a week before the Feb. 11 attack, but did not give a date.
A Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed his account but said there were discrepancies on casualties.
The U.S. military denied any recent airstrikes in or around Sudan.
"The U.S. military has not conducted any airstrikes, fired any missiles, or undertaken any combat operations in or around Sudan since the U.S. Africa Command formally began operations Oct. 1," said Vince Crawley, a spokesman for the command.