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Iranian Warships to Return to Sudan

Iranian warships will return to Sudan one month after a similar port call followed Khartoum's accusation that Israel bombed a factory.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/27/2012, 4:44 AM

The Iranian Kharg ship docked in the town of Port Sudan
The Iranian Kharg ship docked in the town of Port Sudan
AFP photo

Iranian warships will return to Sudan on Friday, the armed forces said on Monday, according to an AFP report.

The announcement comes one month after a similar port call followed Khartoum's accusation that Israel bombed a military factory.

Sudan's links to Iran have come under scrutiny after Khartoum accused Israel of the October 23 strike against the Yarmouk compound, which led to speculation that Iranian weapons were stored or manufactured at the factory in Khartoum.

Khartoum has denied Iranian involvement in weapons manufacturing and has accused Israel of "spreading fabricated information".

"Two Iranian warships would also visit Port Sudan harbor on November 30 and would stay at the harbor for three days within the military maritime cooperation," Sawarmi Khaled Saad, Sudan's army spokesman, was quoted by the official SUNA news agency as having said.

A Pakistani naval vessel would also stop at the Red Sea port, for two days beginning on Thursday, Saad said.

During their visit the three ships would get "fuel and other logistic materials", he added.

A pair of Iranian warships spent about two days in Port Sudan late last month in a visit which Saad said supported "strong political, security and diplomatic relations between the two states".

Israel refused all comment on Sudan's allegations about the Khartoum factory blast.

A top Israeli defense official, Amos Gilad, said Sudan "serves as a route for the transfer, via Egyptian territory, of Iranian weapons to Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists."

A retired Israeli defense official recently told Reuters that Israel has been monitoring arms trafficking through Sudan in an attempt to "stem the flow of arms (to Sinai and Gaza) without triggering major confrontations.”

Foreign intelligence sources told the news agency that Israel had also carried out an unmanned drone raid on a convoy south of Khartoum. The sources claimed the strike destroyed 200 tons of munitions, including rockets, that were intended for Gaza.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has called Israel "enemy number one" because of the attack on the factory.