by Charles Lemos, Wed Apr 06, 2011 at 11:41:28 AM EDT
This story is getting scant, if any, attention in the Western media but Sudanese authorities revealed on Tuesday that a Sonata vehicle was destroyed as a result of an attack in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan by either missiles or from a jet. From The Sudan Tribune:
Multiple security sources told Sudan Tribune that the two men who were inside the car and killed instantly, had just arrived in town through Port Sudan airport.
Their identities however, remain unknown and the sources said that both men appear to have been under the careful watch of the party that carried out the attack throughout their stay in the country.
The Sudanese Media Center Website (SMC) which is widely believed to be run by the country’s security bureau, was the first to report the news saying that a foreign plane launched the attack at 9 pm local time (1800 GMT) in an area known as Kalaneeb which was described as 14 kilometers away from the coastal city of Port Sudan and on the main road leading to the regional airport.
It further reported that Sudanese ant-aircraft defenses responded with heavy fire forcing the plane to flee their airspace.
However, in the early morning hours of Wednesday SMC quoted the deputy Red Sea governor Salah Sir Al-Khitim Kenna as saying that no planes were involved and that it was only a missile fired against the target but did not elaborate.
Earlier today, the police issued a statement saying that a missile hit the car "from an unknown source" but added that it was likely fired from the Red Sea. It also gave a different time for when this took place saying it happened at 8:05 PM (17:05 GMT)
The confusion is exacerbated by separate remarks made by the deputy chairman of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in the Red Sea state Mohamed Tahir Hussein who said that eyewitnesses told him that a plane came from the Red Sea, hit the car and headed back.
Hussein added that "mystery" surrounds the identity of the attackers but he pointed fingers at Israel’s spy agency (Mossad) and suggested that the planes belongs to them and was tracking down arms smugglers.
"This is absolutely an Israeli attack," Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti was quoted by the online edition of the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz. Israeli officials, as is their custom, are declining to comment.
This wouldn't be the first attack by Israel on targets in the Sudan. In January 2009, Israeli warplanes attacked a convoy of trucks in Sudan killing 39 people according to US intelligence though the Sudanese government claims 119 people were killed. That attack was confirmed by US intelligence as having been carried out by Israeli warplanes. Then US officials, citing classified intelligence, claimed that there had been intelligence reports that an operative from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was in Sudan at the time, coordinating the effort to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.
Whereas the January 2009 attack clearly targeted a convoy of illegal Iranian arms bound for Gaza, it's less clear why Israel felt compelled to use such overwhelming force - either aircraft or missiles - to kill two men in a car.