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Sudan unsure where downed drone came from

Army says it shot down a reconnaissance aircraft after residents report hearing explosions near military site

A view of the Sudanese city of Omdurman (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Bertramz CC BY 3.0)
A view of the Sudanese city of Omdurman (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Bertramz CC BY 3.0)

Sudanese anti-aircraft crews shot down an “aerial target” near Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, a military spokesman said on Wednesday, but Sudan could not determine the source of the drone.

An air base detected the target Tuesday night flying at low altitude over Omdurman’s Wadi Sayidna military area, checked there were no civilian planes nearby and shot it down, military spokesman Colonel Al-Sawarmy Khaled Sa’ad said in a statement.

After it was hit, it disintegrated and its debris fell to earth in several residential areas of Omdurman, Sa’ad said.

Sa’ad described the downed aircraft as a “photographic surveillance target,” but said it was still unknown where it came from.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that the Sudanese army said it had shot down a drone, but still did not know the origin.

No one was hurt in the incident according to the statement, which was published on the website of the defense ministry.

Investigations were ongoing, Sa’ad said, stressing the “stability of the situation” in the capital on Wednesday.

Some news reports Wednesday had suggested Sudan suspected Israel of sending the aircraft.

Khartoum has accused Israel of launching strikes on targets in Sudan several times in recent years, although Israel refuses to comment on the claims.

The Israel Defense Forces did not respond to the reports, Israel’s Army Radio reported. A defense source told Israel Radio that no Israeli drone had been shot down in Sudan.

In an earlier statement, Sa’ad had denied rumors of “an attempted coup, military clashes or a foreign attack” that circulated on Sudanese social media after residents reported hearing explosions in the area.

Witnesses in Omdurman said they heard loud explosions from outside the city late on Tuesday. The area is home to several military installations.

A resident of the city’s Wad al-Bakhit neighborhood told AFP they had heard several loud blasts.

“When we heard the noise from the explosion, the walls of our house shook and the blast was repeated four times,” he said on condition of anonymity.

A Sudanese official told London-based news site al-Araby the explosions were the result of airstrikes from a “foreign entity.”

In July 2014, Israeli planes targeted an ammunition warehouse in the same area holding weapons intended for Hamas, according to foreign media reports.

A mysterious explosion in the Yarmouk weapons plant in Khartoum in October 2012, which killed four people, was also believed to be the result of an Israeli airstrike targeting arms destined for Hamas.

Three airstrikes carried out in March 2009, and attributed to Israel in foreign media reports, destroyed a convoy of trucks in western Sudan reportedly carrying long-range Iranian missiles to the Gaza Strip.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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