Israel acted out of concern Iranian arms convoy carrying Fajr rockets

The New York Times reported on Friday that senior American intelligence officials who are “privy to classified intelligence assessments” have confirmed its account of an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian weapons convoy in Sudan in January that was bound for Gaza.

The paper also quoted another unnamed US military officer who said that this was a regular activity of the Israeli air force. Ha’aretz adds that Israel undertook the risky long-range mission out of concern the arms shipment included Iran’s mid-range (70 km) Fajr rockets which could strike Tel Aviv from Gaza.

Meanwhile a new report by Sudanese sources claims there may have been an additional strike on a ship possibly making its way to Sudan from Iran. “There were indeed two strikes in Sudan, in January and February,” Sudan’s deputy transportation minister told Israel’s Channel 10 television on Thursday. “The second strike was against a ship at sea and it was completely destroyed,” another Sudanese official said.

Israeli officials have yet to confirm or deny the reports, but Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told a gathering at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya yesterday that Israel can strike terrorists “anywhere” and that those who were wondering what Israel’s capabilities were should “use their imagination.”

In a related development, a senior Israeli intelligence source revealed that the Egyptian army has recently beefed up its presence along the border with Sudan to try to block the flow of Iranian arms to Gaza via Sinai. Sudan’s radical Islamist regime maintains close ties to Tehran and is apparently serving as a major link in the smuggling network the Iranians have established in East Africa to move weapons to Hamas in Gaza.

The Israeli official also noted that Iran and Hamas are very concerned about a recent memorandum of understanding signed by Israel, the US and eight other NATO countries to combat arms smuggling, as well as the recent confiscation of a vessel carrying Iranian arms. The ship was en route to Syria with arms for the Syrian army, but the US believed that the arms would really be going to Hizbullah, and put pressure on Cyprus to impound the ship.


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Today’s bulletin was written and compiled by Matt Carmichael and Aaron Hecht
Editor: David Parsons

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