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Sudan officially says 119 killed in Israeli-accused attack on smuggling convoy

KHARTOUM, May 25 (KUNA) -- Sudan on Monday officially announced the death of 119 people during raids it accused Israel of carrying out on smuggling convoys in eastern Sudan during January and February this year.
Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussain in a statement presented at the country's parliament, said that estimates compiled by the ministry reveal one of the attacked convoys included 81 smugglers, of which 25 survived, while another attack on a convoy including 180, led to the killing of 63.
The minister went on to say that a total of 35 trucks took part in the smuggling operation, of which 27 were destroyed.
The nationalities of individuals who took part in the operation, he said, were Ethiopians, Eritreans and Somalis amongst others.
Investigations into the case he described as "ambiguous and complicated" are still being carried out, he added, in coordination with the foreign ministry, security bodies in the country and neighbouring countries.
International forces operating in the Red Sea or Israeli unmanned aircraft, unnoticed by local radar systems could be targets responsible for the raid, according to the Sudanese minister.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had hinted an Israeli role in the convoy attacks last year which led, according to Sudanese estimates at the time, to a total of 800 deaths, with Washington denying its own responsibility.
US and Israeli media had mentioned that the raid targeted an automobile rocket-smuggling convoy on its way to Gaza.
Accused recipient of the convoy, Palestinian movement Hamas, had denied any relation to the convoy, adding that it had not received any weapons from neighbouring Arab countries or organizations. (end) hhi.sd KUNA 252314 May 09NNNN