Debate remains unresolved in the United States, whenever it is brought up, about the wisdom of destroying the factory and whether it ever posed a threat, as Washington declared, of chemical weapons falling into terrorist hands.
But in Sudan there is no such debate, just bitterness and anger at what is widely seen as an unjustified strike. Indeed, Sudanese officials at the time told this journalist visiting days after the bombing that he was free to go anywhere, and photograph anything – the first time ever under the authoritarian regime of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Ikram Ataib sees the ruins of Al Shifa every day that she goes to work at the furniture showroom across the street, where the plush, polished leather chairs and gleaming chrome and glass tables are a sharp contrast to the dun-colored ruins of Al Shifa.
Ms. Ataib was 9 years old when the attack took place. She heard the blasts at her family home a couple of blocks away, and said her pregnant aunt miscarried her unborn child at 5 months because she was so afraid.
"I am very, very affected," Ataib says. "Some people were angry. Some people were weeping. And the dead; until now this memory is with me. I remember the fire, the flames...."
One person died in the middle-of-the-night strike, and 10 were wounded. Afterward, then-Secretary of Defense William Cohen said that, before the strike, the US was unaware that the plant was making medicines, even though the plant had recently signed a large US-approved United Nations oil-for-food contract with Iraq.