Sudan attack: update

Published 1 April 2009

Israel used “dozens of aircraft” to destroy an Iranian arms convoy in Sudan in late January; UAVs were used for BDA (bomb damage assessment); sources: there was another Israeli attack in Sudan, in early February, and an attack on a ship in the Gulf of Aden

More details are becoming known about the daring Israeli raid — or raids — in and about Sudan in in January and February, raids aimed at disrupting Iranian arms shipments to Hamas (see “Sudan Attack Demonstrates New U.S.-Israel Counter-Iran Policy,” 26 March 2009 HS Daily Wire). Some early reports said that the attack was carried by long-range UAVs, but we know that the January destruction of the Iranian convoy involved “dozens of aircraft,” according to Time magazine: “F-16 fighter-bombers carried out two runs on the convoy, while F-15 fighter planes circled overhead as a precaution in case hostile aircraft were scrambled from Khartoum or a nearby country. After the first bombing run, drones mounted with high-resolution cameras passed over the burning trucks. The video showed that the convoy had only been partially damaged, so the Israelis ordered a second pass with the F-16s.”

Before the recent Israeli operation in Gaza, Iran used the Sudan and Somalia smuggling routes to send tons of weapons and explosives to Hamas. After the operation ended, it tried to resume the arms smuggling. Israel decided to destroy the January convoy not only because it was larger than previous convoys, but also because there was a qualitative difference: for the first time, Iran had tried to ship to Hamas missiles that could reach Tel Aviv.

Iran had shipped some 200 of these missile to Hezbollah in Lebanon, but in an impressive demonstration of its intelligence and operational prowess, Israel destroyed these missiles in the first 36 minutes of the 2006 war with Hezbollah, leaving the organization only with its short-range Katyusha rockets (with the exception of this early destruction of the mid-range missiles, Israel’s military conduct during the month-long was was less impressive). Israel brought to the operation in Sudan the same impressive intelligence and operational capabilities.

Sources tell us that there were two more Israeli attacks on Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah: In early February Israel attacked another Iranian convoy in Sudan; around the same time, a ship carrying weapons for Hamas was attack and sunk in the Gulf of Aden.

Stay tuned.