Is Sudan Attack a Proxy War on Sinai Rebels?

Israel Accused of Bombing Khartoum Arms Factory

By Reuters

Published October 25, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

If Israel bombed a Sudanese munitions factory, as Khartoum alleges, the raid was part of its widening proxy war against Islamist militants in neighbouring Egypt which the Jewish state is reluctant to confront directly.

A huge explosion ripped through the factory near the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Tuesday, killing two people, with Sudan swiftly accusing Israel of sending four military planes to take out the complex.

The poor Muslim east African state, with its ties to Iran and Sunni jihadis, has long been seen by Israel as a conduit for weapons smuggled onward to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, via the Egyptian Sinai desert.

With Sinai itself becoming a seedbed of al Qaeda-inspired cadres during Cairo’s political upheaval, the Israelis now fear such arms could be used against them from within Egyptian territory. That puts Israel in a strategic bind, laid bare by the half-dozen guerrilla attacks it absorbed over the Egyptian border in recent months.

The countries’ landmark 1979 peace accord precludes Israeli military action, whether preventive or retaliatory, in the Sinai, and Israel is highly unlikely to risk even a one-off breach given Egypt’s unsympathetic new Islamist-led government.

Israel’s response, government and military sources said, has been to hit first against those on Egypt’s periphery suspected of links to the Sinai militants.

That has meant stepped-up up air strikes on Gazans accused of plotting operations in Sinai, and - to judge by reports from Khartoum - similar escalation in Sudan, to Egypt’s south.

Israel has never confirmed or denied carrying out attacks on Sudanese targets. But Israeli defence officials admit placing a high priority on tracking arms trafficking through the country.

The monitoring, one retired official said, dates back to the previous government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, which waged a 2008-2009 Gaza war to crush Palestinian rocket fire and found itself fending off fierce censure abroad over the civilian toll.

Since early in 2009, shortly before the centrist Olmert was succeeded by the right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudan has accused Israel of carrying out several strikes on its territory. The sense of a far-flung covert campaign was further fuelled by the Israelis’ alleged assassination of a senior Hamas armourer in Dubai in 2010 and abduction for trial of a suspected Palestinian rocket expert from Ukraine the following year.

Commenting tersely on Israel’s strategy, the ex-official said it aimed to “stem the flow of arms (to Sinai and Gaza) without triggering major confrontations”.

“This is all the more relevant today,” the ex-official said, referring to instability in Egypt and surging Sinai militancy.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.