KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan said Friday that it won’t install Iranian anti-aircraft missiles in the country after earlier exploring the idea following suspected Israeli airstrikes there in 2012.
A statement from Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country wouldn’t install the defensive missiles “for fear it could be misinterpreted by some Gulf states.”
In October 2012, Sudan claimed that Israeli airstrikes caused an explosion and fire at a military factory south of the capital, Khartoum, killing two people. It said four aircraft hit the Yarmouk complex, setting off a huge blast that rocked the capital before dawn.
Israel never claimed the attack, but Israeli officials at the time said Sudan played a key role in an Iranian-backed network of arms shipments to hostile Arab militant groups across the Middle East.
Sudan has been engaged in various armed conflicts for many years. Its government has been at war with rebels in the western region of Darfur and with its neighbors in South Sudan, which broke away to become Africa’s newest country in 2011.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Sudan was a major hub for al-Qaeda militants and remains a transit for weapon smugglers and African migrant traffickers.
The US imposed economic, trade and financial sanctions against Sudan in 1997, citing the Sudanese government’s support for terrorism, including its sheltering of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in the mid-1990s. In 1998, American cruise missiles bombed a Khartoum pharmaceutical factory suspected of links to al-Qaeda.
In 2009, Sudan accused Israel of carrying out an airstrike on an arms convoy near the Red Sea in eastern Sudan.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.