Two highly-placed Israeli sources confirmed to Time Magazine that the IDF alone was responsible for a mid-January attack on a truck convoy in Sudan bearing arms for Hamas operatives in Gaza.
The magazine cited the anonymous sources as saying that the large-scale operation involved "dozens of aircraft", including unmanned drones as well as F-16 and F-15 fighter jets.
The sources denied earlier news reports that US aircraft had been involved in the attack. "The Americans were notified that Israel was going to conduct an air operation in Sudan, but they were not involved," Time quoted one source as saying.
According to the sources, the operation was implemented in less than a week, after Mossad agents received intelligence information from an Iranian informant that the Islamic Republic intended to send armaments to Gaza via Sudan.
The route, which involves shipment to Port Sudan, transfer through the African country, and then movement across Egypt's southern border and up into Sinai, had occasionally been used by Hamas before, but never with such a large supply, Time reported.
"This was the first time that the Iranians had tried to send Hamas a shipment this big via Sudan — and it is probably the last," said one source cited in the magazine, adding that several Iranians were killed in the raid, along with Sudanese smugglers and drivers.
Meanwhile, a Hamas official told Time that the convoy had fewer trucks and bore fewer weapons than Israeli sources claimed. "The Israelis are trying to overplay the quantity of arms as a way to justify this raid, and to mobilize the Europeans to crack down on smugglers in the Mediterranean," he was quoted as saying.
Another Hamas source told the magazine that the destruction of the convoy was not a major setback, as Bedouin tribes in the Sinai continued to help smuggle arms through weapons' tunnels into Gaza.