Did Israel really hit a Hyundai in Sudan?

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 14, 2011

Mystery still surrounds the attack last week on a car killing two men near the Red Sea coast of Sudan, but it bears all the hallmarks of another strike in Israel's campaign against arms smuggling to Hamas and Hizbollah.

While the Sudanese government was quick to blame Israel, even presenting the remains of a US-made Hellfire missile - currently used by the IAF - all official Israeli sources remained silent. And Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, when asked about the attack during a visit to Berlin last week, said: "Some people see Israel's hands in everything around the world, it's not always true."

Conflicting reports still exist as to what exactly happened on the Tuesday night. A number of aircraft apparently flew in from the Red Sea and at least one of them launched a missile at a Hyundai car, killing the driver and a passenger.

Some Arab media outlets later claimed that one of the men was Abd Latif al-Ashkar, who was identified as a senior Hamas operative, in charge of the shipments of arms from Iran to Gaza.

Al-Ashkar had replaced Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in that role, following al-Mabhouh's assassination in Dubai in January 2010, an operation that has widely been attributed to Mossad.

The attack bears the hallmarks of an Israeli strike

The Sudanese government has also accused the attackers of jamming their coastal radar systems, a tactic reminiscent of previous Israeli attacks.

Arms reach Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon by land routes through Syria but mainly by sea, in ships that leave from the main Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and pass through the Suez Canal.

While some of the shipments have been seized in the Mediterranean by Israeli commandos, and the arms they carried publicly presented at Ashdod Port - as Israel did last month with the Victoria that was carrying advanced Iranian anti-shipping missiles - most of the campaign has been "under the radar".

Last updated: 12:15pm, April 14 2011