Sudanese media was abuzz over the weekend with reports of recent Israeli aerial strikes against terrorist targets in the African nation.
According to the reports, Israel conducted at least two aerial strikes against suspected arms smuggling convoys in Sudan over the past month. Intelligence indicated that the convoys were transporting weapons to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
One of the Sudanese reports claimed that two Israeli helicopters actually landed on an island off the coast of Sudan, and that Israeli soldiers freely roamed the territory while fearful Sudanese security forces remained hidden in their nearby bases. That same report alleged that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir later commented that he could not protect his own soldiers, and had asked Egypt to help detect Israeli incursions.
Sudan is a major conduit for the trafficking of arms into the Gaza Strip. Most of the weapons originate in Iran and are shipped to Port Sudan. From there, the weapons are loaded on trucks or into large vehicles and transported over land to the Egypt-Gaza border.
Israeli forces were supposedly behind an aerial strike in Port Sudan earlier this year that killed a top terrorist operative involved in the smuggling operations.
In 2009, a large convoy of 20 heavy trucks was bombed near the Sudan-Egypt border. Again, the Israeli Air Force was believed to be behind the strike, though Israel never officially confirmed its involvement.
Earlier this month, IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Benny Gantz reestablished the Israeli army's Depth Corps. The unit will be responsible for handling long-range strategic threats, and will answer directly to Gantz.