Last update - 03:33 27/03/2009     
      Estimates: Sudan strike targeted weapons that could hit Tel Aviv 
      By Haaretz Correspondent and News Agencies , By Amos Harel, Barak Ravid 
and Yoav Stern  
      Tags: air strike, Iran, Israel news  

      Alluding to what foreign media reports say was an Israeli Air Force 
strike in Sudan in January, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Thursday 
that no place is out of Israel's reach. 

      The air strike reportedly hit a convoy of Iranian arms passing through 
Sudan en route to the Gaza Strip. 

      "We operate everywhere we can hit terrorist infrastructure - in nearby 
places, in places further away, anywhere we can strike them in a way that 
increases deterrence," Olmert told a conference in Herzliya. 
      "Everyone can use their imagination. Those who need to know, know there 
is no place where Israel cannot operate. Such a place doesn't exist," he said. 

      Channel 10 television broadcast an interview with a Sudanese minister's 
adviser who said that targets on or near Sudanese territory were bombed twice, 
and the second air strike destroyed a ship carrying Iranian arms. 

      Israeli officials declined to confirm or deny Israel's involvement in the 
air strike in Sudan. They also refused to comment on the various foreign media 
reports about the strike. 

      Any Israeli decision to attack such a distant target would likely have 
been based on the belief that Iran could deliver arms into Gaza, possibly 
including 70-kilometer-range Fajr rockets. That range would allow Hamas 
operatives to strike into the heart of Israel, Tel Aviv, from their Gaza bases. 

      Mubarak Mabrook Saleem, Sudan's State Minister for Transportation, told 
The Associated Press he believed American planes were behind the bombings, 
which he said took place about a week apart. 

      He also claimed hundreds of people from several African states had been 
killed. The U.S. denied any air strike on Sudan. 

      Arab and U.S. media reports said that Israel was behind the attacks, 
since the convoys were smuggling weapons destined for Gaza. Hamas, which rules 
Gaza, smuggles weapons into the Strip through tunnels along the Egyptian 

      Due to the intensive international activity to prevent arms smuggling to 
Gaza that followed Operation Cast Lead in the Strip earlier this year Egypt 
began sending forces to its border with Sudan after that operation in an effort 
to prevent smuggling into Gaza. The alleged Israeli air strike also contributed 
to Iran's decision. 

      The Iranians are concerned over the memorandum of understanding signed 
between Israel and the United States to combat smuggling into Gaza, the source 
said. Eight NATO members also said they would join the anti-smuggling effort. 

      The Iranians see the recent interception of the arms ship Monchegorsk, 
which was en route to Syria, as a warning of the difficulties they are likely 
to face in delivering arms, the source added. That ship, which was carrying 
arms from Iran to the Syrian army, was stopped in Cyprus following American 
pressure and its cargo was confiscated. 

      The source said the Iranians, who established smuggling networks via the 
Persian Gulf, Aden and east Africa, with an emphasis on Sudan. In the past the 
Iranians have tried to smuggle arms via Turkey. The routes planned to move 
weapons in planes, trucks and trains, and from Turkey to Syria and from Syria 
to Lebanon. A few of these shipments were caught by Turkish security services 
working against the smuggling. 

      A senior intelligence source said: "The Egyptians are patrolling the 
border and inspecting it," he said. "They weren't doing that until now. They 
started doing it because of the increased international pressure to act against 
the smuggling. But so far, the results are only partial 



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