US planes destroyed arms convoy for Gaza in Sudan, Egyptian, Sudanese media. CBS: Strike by Israeli Air Force
debkafile‘s military sources: Sudanese and Egyptian security officials reported Tuesday, March 24, the day Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir arrived in Cairo, that in January, US Air Force AC 130H gunships taking off from bases in Djibouti destroyed a 17-truck clandestine convoy carrying smuggled arms as it travelled through Sudan to the Egyptian border. All 39 passengers were killed, said those officials. Wednesday night, CBS TV News quoted unidentified US Pentagon officials as claiming the attack was not carried out by American but Israeli aircraft.
No official comment has come from Israel.
Our military sources report that Iran’s main arms smuggling route to Hamas in Gaza runs through Sudan. The weapons are quietly unloaded from Iranian merchant vessels to convoys of trucks or camels at Port Sudan on the Red Sea. After crossing into Egypt, the supplies make their way to the Gulf of Suez where local smugglers’ boats move the arms freight across Sinai.
The size of the convoy targeted for air attack, 17 trucks and 39 passengers, is the first tangible eye-opener to Iran’s vast weapons-smuggling program for Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. The hardware transits Sinai and reaches its destination through their tunnel network on the Egyptian-Gaza border.
According to debkafile‘s intelligence sources, the arms trucks have been plying the Sudan-Sinai route at the rate of two or three large convoys per month, tracked by US and Israeli spy satellites.
The supplies continue since the convoy was destroyed two months ago, only the smugglers are more careful, using various devices to evade satellite detection. For instance, the trucks no longer travel in convoys, but separately, or else they transfer the arms to different kinds of vehicles such as camels and small boats which hug the Sudanese and Egyptian coasts.
Last January, the US and Israel signed an agreement calling for an international effort to stem the flow of weaponry and explosives from Iran to Gaza. It covered intelligence coordination, maritime efforts to identify ships carrying the hardware, and the sharing of US and European technologies to detect and block weapons-smuggling tunnels between Sinai and Gaza.
One Cypriot-flagged Iranian arms ship was diverted in the Gulf of Aden, forced through the Suez Canal and finally had its illicit freight confiscated at Larnaca.