The alleged aerial bombardment of a weapons factory in Sudan last week was indeed carried out by Israel, and was seen as a test run for a larger strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, according to a report in London's Sunday Times.
Citing unnamed Israeli and Western military sources, the British newspaper reported that eight Israeli fighter jets, one refueling plane, one electronic warfare plane and two helicopters carrying commando teams had taken part in the long-range mission.
Four of the fighters actually bombed the factory, while the other four provided cover. The commando teams were kept in reserve in case a pilot was downed. But that scenario was unlikely due to the capabilities of the electronic warfare plane, which apparently succeeded in totally masking the Israelis' penetration of Sudan's air defenses.
According to the sources, in addition to eliminating a major link in the Iran-to-Gaza arms smuggling operation, the Sudan air raid had sent a very clear message to Iran of what Israel is capable of, even against distant enemies.
Israeli officials believe that by next spring, it will be too late to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons, and that international diplomatic efforts have already failed, making military action all but inevitable.