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Vol 53 No 22

Published 2nd November 2012


Target Khartoum

Israel’s attack on a Khartoum arms factory highlights its tougher line in Africa and Sudan’s growing ties with Iran

Taken by surprise, Khartoum officials at first offered contradictory explanations for the devastating attack on the El Yarmouk arms factory in Khartoum at around midnight on 23-24 October. After emergency discussions, the regime blamed Israel and complained to the United Nations Security Council. Although Iran and Arab governments condemned the attack, there was little real Arab support and virtually none from elsewhere. The trigger for the bombing of the El Yarmouk Industrial Complex was an attack on Israel from Gaza using Sudanese-made rockets, a senior Sudanese opposition source claimed. Opposition parties have supporters – and therefore sources – even in government organisations. As always, Israel declined to confirm or deny the attack but one serving official told Africa Confidential that the reason was developments in the Sinai Desert, where Al Qaida and other jihadists had built up bases as Egypt’s former regime under President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak was losing control.

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