ABC: IAF Attacked 3 Times in Sudan

The Israel Air Force carried out three air strikes in Sudan, not two, according to a report yesterday by ABC News. The TV network report said the attacks were carried out during the latter part of January and in February, targeting arms shipments from Iran destined for the Gaza Strip.

The ABC report, which was based on U.S. officials, reiterated earlier reports that the first air strike had targeted a convoy of trucks carrying arms, while the second sunk a ship. No details were given about the target of the third strike, which was probably another convoy of trucks.

The report of the American news network was also based on statements by Sudanese officials, who confirm that Israel had sunk a ship carrying arms.

The strikes against the convoys were in northeastern Sudan, not far from Port Sudan and the Egyptian border crossing.

The ship was sunk in the Red Sea close to Sudanese territorial waters.

However, a representative of the Free Blacks, one of the parties in the ruling coalition in Sudan, said that in one of the three attacks, it was not one ship but four fishing vessels with innocent fishermen who were sunk. The representative, Al Fatah Mahmoud, says the fishing vessels were sunk by something that came up from under the surface of the water, shelled the vessels and then sank again under water.

He said his party will ask the Sudanese government to lodge a complaint with the United Nations, demanding that the international organization investigate the alleged violation of its sovereignty.

Meanwhile, confusing and contradictory reports continue to come out of Sudan, some of whose sources are government ministries, and a clear picture on the attacks attributed to Israel is not forthcoming.

According to an ABC report on Thursday, 39 people riding in the 17-truck convoy were killed, while a number of civilians in the area were injured.

Mahmoud denied in an interview to the daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat that the weapons in the convoy were destined for the Gaza Strip.

Israeli officials declined to confirm or deny whether Israel had been involved in an air strike in Sudan.

However, on Thursday a Sudanese politician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the route of the convoy, in a desert region northwest of Port Sudan on the Red Sea cost, was regularly used by groups smuggling weapons into Egypt. "Everyone knows they are smuggling weapons to the southern part of Egypt," he said.

The U.S. administration and the Egyptian government have asked the Sudanese government to put an end to the use of its territory for smuggling arms to the Gaza Strip. The issue was discussed last week during a meeting between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Sudan's leader, Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, in Cairo.

Photographs of the debris of the convoy, and remnants of the bomb, which were aired on Al Jazeera, suggest that the bomb used was a GBU-12, which is a laser-guided smart bomb, weighing 230 kilograms and is made by Texas Instruments. The serial number of the bomb, which states that it was produced in December 2005, is clearly visible.