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Sudan Says Israeli Planes Hit Khartoum Arms Factory

Fire engulfs the Yarmouk ammunition factory in Khartoum overnight on October 23-24.
Sudan's government says it believes Israel has conducted an air strike on an arms factory in Khartoum.

Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters in Khartoum that "four military planes attacked the Yarmouk plant," where there were blasts and a huge fire late on October 23.

"The attack destroyed part of the compound infrastructure, killed two people inside and injured another who is in serious condition," Osman said.

He said evidence pointing to Israel was found among remnants of the explosives, and that "we reserve the right to react at a place and time we choose."

Earlier, Khartoum state Governor Abdul Rahman al-Khider said the explosion had occurred at midnight and that a preliminary probe showed it had happened in a storage space.

He said no one had been killed in the blasts.

Khider told official media some people were hospitalized because of smoke inhalation but gave no numbers.

Eyewitnesses said they had seen two or three fires and dense smoke coming out of the arms factory compound.

The AFP news agency reported that one witness had seen a plane "coming from east to west" before the explosions.

The sprawling Yarmouk compound is surrounded by barbed wire and set back about 2 kilometers from the district's main road.

Khartoum has accused Israel of similar attacks in the past.

In April 2011, Khartoum held Israel responsible for the death of two people in an air strike near the city of Port Sudan.

Sudan also blamed Israel for a strike on a convoy in northeastern Sudan in 2009.

It was not immediately known who was responsible for the blast at the Yarmouk arms factory.

The Foreign Ministry of Israel, which has long accused Khartoum of serving as a base for militants from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, refused to comment.

In 1998 the United States launched a missile strike on a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, saying it was manufacturing materials for chemical weapons.

Sudan denied the allegation.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP