Sudan accused Israel Wednesday of being behind an air strike against a car driving along the coast the night before, in a case believed to involve weapons smuggling to militants in Gaza.
Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti said the attack in the Port Sudan area which killed two was "a flagrant Israeli aggression." He told journalists following his meeting with U.S. special envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, that Israel was trying to make Sudan look like a sponsor of terror to keep it from being removed from the U.S. terrorism list.
Israel had no comment. While it never comments on covert operations, its officials have said Sudan is a frequent transit point for illicit weapons headed to Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli defense analyst Alon Ben-David told The Associated Press that if it was an Israeli strike, it would most likely have been against weapons smugglers supplying Hamas.
"Now you can assume that if indeed Israel committed the strike and sent its fighter aircraft 1,500 kilometers (1,000 miles) away, that was a very high-value target," he said.
The deputy governor of Port Sudan state, Sirul Khatim Kunna, told the Sudan Media Center that an investigation is underway into the circumstances behind the attack, but it appears that the car was hit by a missile.
The news agency added that the Sudanese government would take the matter to the United Nations Security Council.
There were apparently four cars in the convoy, according to the independent daily Al-Rai Al-Am, but only one was targeted. The attack caused panic in Port Sudan, which is the site of the country's main oil export terminal, the paper added.
In 2009, a convoy carrying weapons in Sudan was targeted from the air, killing dozens. It was widely believed that Israel carried out the attack on a weapons shipment headed for Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Israel never confirmed or denied that.
Associated Press writer Josef Federman contributed to this report from Jerusalem.