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Sudan's Bashir threatens Israel over alleged airstrike

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Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters on a tour of the blast site that bomb debris had been discovered and examined, and his government was convinced they were Israeli armaments.

What is the nature of the Sudan-Iran relationship?

Sudan has unusually close ties with Iran for a Sunni-dominated state, stretching back over 20 years. Most Arab governments look askance at Persian and majority-­Shiite Iran as a dangerous regional rival.

Sudanese President Bashir has been periodically assisted by Iran since taking power following a 1989 coup. The two countries signed a military cooperation agreement in 2008. In 2009, the US Embassy in Khartoum reported that Foreign Affairs Minister Al-Samani al-Wasila had acknowledged that Iran had provided weapons to the Sudanese military in the past and had worked on joint weapons production, but denied that the country had been a transshipment point for Iranian arms to Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Earlier that year, the United States had complained to Sudan that the country's Badr Airlines was flying in "lethal military equipment" from Iran and requested that the shipments stop.

Why would Israel care?

Israel asserts that Sudan is the starting point for Iranian arms shipments to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas, a militant Islamist group. The allegation is that Sudan moves weapons through the Egyptian mainland and the lawless Sinai Peninsula before they enter the Palestinian enclave's smuggling tunnels. US, Israeli, and Egyptian officials have frequently confirmed that arms smuggling from Sudan is commonplace, notably to Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

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