The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Sudan air strike may have killed 119

A new development in the Sudan airstrike story. A few days ago we highlighted to a piece that showed how confusing the various information on the subject is. Now the BBC is reporting that Sudan's minister of defense says the toll was much higher than originally reported:

An air raid in a Sudanese desert in January killed 119 people travelling in a people-smuggling convoy, the country's defence minister has said.

Abdul-Rahim Hussein told parliament that the attack was still under investigation, state media reported.

Fifty-six smugglers died as well as 63 people wanting to emigrate, he said.

Israel - battling Hamas in Gaza at the time of the attack - was suspected of being behind air raid, but has never explicitly confirmed any involvement.

. . .

In his report, Gen Hussein said there were up to 1,000 people in the convoy involved in "a smuggling process at the border with Egypt", Suna reported.

Among the convoy were people from Ethiopia and Somalia, the defence minister said.

It's hard to tell whether this is the truth or an attempt to make Israel (which presumably carried out the strike) look bad by blaming it for the deaths of migrant refugees. And it still does not tell us anything about this convoy and what it was smuggling, although the suggestion that over 1,000 people were there makes the secret cargo for Hamas theory look slightly weird.

Update: Worth reading this analysis in conjunction with the above.