JERUSALEM (JTA) – The target of an airstrike on a car in Sudan blamed on Israel was a high-ranking Hamas official, Palestinian intelligence officials said.
One of the men killed in Tuesday’s attack was Abdul-Latif Ashkar, who coordinated weapons smuggling for Hamas and was the successor of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, the Hamas official assassinated in a Dubai hotel room in January 2010, the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported Thursday
"This is absolutely an Israeli attack," Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Karti told reporters Wednesday in the capital of Khartoum, Reuters reported.
On Tuesday, an unidentified plane reportedly flew into Sudanese airspace from the Red Sea and bombed the car, killing its two passengers, before flying back the way it came. The plane evaded several missiles fired by the Sudanese army.
Karti said one of the car’s dead passengers was a Sudanese citizen with no government or Islamist ties.
Israel was accused in 2009 of a deadly strike on a convoy of trucks in eastern Sudan suspected of being arms smugglers transporting weapons bound for the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Israel’s Shin Bet security service announced that it had nabbed five members of a Hamas terror cell that was planning attacks inside Israel. The men were captured last month in Jerusaelm, but their arrest had been kept under a gag order.
The men, all residents of an eastern Jerusalem village, reportedly was preparing a shooting attack similar to one in March 2008 at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, which killed eight yeshiva students.One of the arrested men admitted to preparing a pipe bomb that blew off the hand of a municipal Jerusalem worker in March.