Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) have arrested a key informant working on behalf of Israeli intelligence, the Israel i24news television reported on Sunday, based on Sudanese news reports.
According to i24news, the Saturday issue of the pro-government Al-Intibaha daily newspaper in Khartoum quoted a reliable source as saying that Sudan's security agencies had been "monitoring Israel’s espionage activities for a long time, particularly among Sudanese citizens who fled to Israel since 2002 and returned through South Sudan and other neighboring countries."
Al-Intibaha said that the unidentified spy provided information that helped Israel carry out several operations, including ones in April 2011 and May 2012 in the Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan, which are believed to have targeted individuals involved in arms smuggling.
Haaretz, citing local reports in Sudan, said Sudanese agents provided Israel with information that facilitated a 2009 attack on a weapons convoy and an airstrike on an arms factory in Khartoum in October 2012. The agents reportedly traveled in the past to Israel disguised as migrants.
The Sudan Times, reporting on the arrest, gave as proof comments made last week by IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, who asserted that Israel was carrying out secret operations in other countries
i24news noted that some 20,000 Sudanese citizens have crossed into Israel through the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in the past decade, fleeing persecution in their homeland and dire economic conditions.
They enjoy protection in Israel by virtue of a UN-mandated ban on forcing them to return to Sudan. Some have left in recent years under a combination of Israeli pressure and financial inducements, including several thousand who returned to South Sudan.
Khartoum's links with Iran came under scrutiny after Sudan accused Israel of being behind an October 2012 strike against the Yarmouk military factory in the Sudanese capital, which led to speculation that Iranian weapons were stored or manufactured there.
Israel refused all comment on Sudan's accusation about the factory blast, though 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."
Iranian warships regularly dock in Port Sudan, in what Khartoum describes as “routine” visits. Khartoum has denied Iranian involvement in weapons manufacturing and has accused Israel of "spreading fabricated information".
Israel recently intercepted the Klos C weapons ship, which was carrying Iranian-made weapons meant for Gaza. The ship was sailing to Sudan, where the arms could have then been transferred to the Sinai Peninsula and from there to Gaza via the underground smuggling tunnels.
Sudan denied it had any connection with the Klos C ship, saying that the vessel was in international waters.