Did Israel try to sabotage a joint Iranian-Sudanese effort to manufacture military drones? A mysterious blast at a weapons factory in Khartoum continues to raise question marks. A diplomatic source told AFP that the factory had been involved in the production of drones.
Meanwhile, foreign intelligence sources said Israel carried out an unmanned drone raid on a convoy south of Khartoum last month that destroyed 200 tons of munitions, including rockets, intended for Gaza.
"There was supposed to be an agreement between Sudan and Iran to produce some kind of non-conventional weapons," a diplomatic source told AFP on Thursday.
The source, asking not to be identified, said he was also told that the Yarmouk factory was involved in drone production.
But Jonah Leff, of Small Arms Survey, a Swiss-based independent research project, said he doubts such equipment is made locally.
Leff's project has documented the presence of a drone, landmines and other Iranian weapons in Sudan but he thinks they were acquired directly from Iran.
"There's a lot of speculation that Iran has provided technical assistance to the Sudanese for their weapons manufacturing but I haven't been able to confirm that they're producing any Iranian weapons," he said.
On a visit to Tehran last August, Bashir described the relationship between Sudan and Iran as "deeply rooted".
Leff identified Yarmouk as part of Sudan's Military Industry Corporation, which claims to produce a variety of weapons from pistols to battle tanks.
"They're highly secretive... It's hard to know what exactly they're producing and what is propaganda," Leff said.
On Wednesday, a Sudanese minister said an arms factory in Khartoum where there were blasts and a huge fire overnight was attacked by four Israeli military planes.
AFP and Reuters contributed to this report
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