The Sunday Times reported that eight Israeli warplanes participated in the attack on the Yarmouk military complex near the Sudanese capital Khartoum. According to the report, planning for the operation began as a result of documents found on the body of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, whose assassination in Dubai in 2010 prompted worldwide speculation that it was a Mossad operation.
The U.K. paper cited military intelligence reports stating that Mabhouh was in charge of procuring weapons for terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip, and was in possession of a copy of an agreement between Iran and Sudan from 2008 that permitted Iran to manufacture weapons in Sudanese territory.
The report claims that Israeli intelligence managed to successfully prove that Iranian engineers had begun working in Yarmouk under the watch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and were developing Iran's long-range Shihab missiles as well as other arms. The plant served as a starting point for weapons convoys to the Gaza Strip.
Yarmouk is located in a densely populated residential area of the city some 11 kilometers (seven miles) southwest of the Khartoum International Airport.
Wednesday's explosion sent exploding ammunition flying into homes in the neighborhood adjacent to the factory, causing panic among residents. Sudanese officials said some people suffered from smoke inhalation.
A man who lives near the factory said that from inside their house, he and his brother heard a loud roar of what they believed was a plane just before the boom of the explosion sounded from the factory.
Meanwhile, Sudan's ambassador to the United Nations issued a complaint to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, claiming that the nature of strike, and the advanced radar-jamming technology used proves it was an Israeli operation.
Israel has faced numerous attempts to smuggle weapons to the Gaza Strip. In March 2011, the Israeli Navy intercepted the ship, Victoria, which carried a large cache of weapons including the advanced C-704 anti-ship missile, which — had it landed in the hands of terrorists — would have threatened navy operations as well as the nearby natural gas drilling rigs.