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Report: U.S. stages deadly air strike against arms smugglers inside Sudan in Jan.
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15:58, March 25, 2009

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The United States has conducted an air strike against arms smugglers last January, killing scores of people, the Paris-based Sudan tribune website reported on Wednesday.

Sudanese State Minister for Highways, Mabrouk Mubarak Saleem, was quoted as saying that a "major power bombed small trucks carrying arms, burring all of them."

The strike "killed Sudanese, Eritreans and Ethiopians, and injured others," Saleem added.

Egypt's Al-Shurooq newspaper had also reported this week that U.S. planes destroyed a convoy heading towards the borders carrying arms believed to be on its way to the Gaza Strip.

The report said that attack is believed to have occurred in a desert area in the northwest of Port Sudan city, near the Mount Al-Sha'anoon, and the convoy consisted of 17 trucks carrying 39 passengers that were all destroyed in the operation.

An unidentified Egyptian official was quoted as saying that the planes that carried out the attack were based out of many regional countries, suggesting that it is likely to be Djibouti.

He said that the air strike caused an "embarrassment" to Khartoum which viewed it as a "violation to its sovereignty" and discussed the matter with Cairo in an effort to gather more information to formulate a response.

The Sudanese authorities conducted "a full blown dossier" on the attack containing images, forensics and remains of weapons and satellite phones, said the newspaper, adding the rockets fired by U.S. gun-ships left 18-hole diameters ranging between 160 and 430 meters.

Israeli officials in the past have said that arms are funneled into Sudan and then to Egypt's Sinai where they pass through the tunnels into Gaza.

The U.S. signed an agreement with Israel last January that calls for an international effort to stem the flow of weaponry and explosives to complement those of Egypt.

American and Israeli diplomats have revealed that the agreement includes intelligence coordination to prevent arms from Iran from entering Gaza, maritime efforts to identify ships carrying weaponry, and the sharing of U.S. and European technologies to discover and prevent the use of weapons-smuggling tunnels.


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