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Satellite images show Sudan weapons factory hit from above, monitoring group says

Blast at Khartoum, Sudan arms factory came from airstrike, Satellite Sentinel Project says.

Sudan bombing satellite photoEnlarge
The Yarmouk arms factory in Khartoum, Sudan exploded and caught fire on Wednesday, and the Satellite Sentinel Project released before and after photos on October 27, 2012, that appear to prove the destruction came from an airstrike. (Satellite Sentinel Project/Courtesy)

A state-owned weapons factory in Sudan was hit from above, and a monitoring group today said it has the satellite photographs to prove it.

The Yarmouk arms factory in Khartoum exploded and caught fire on Wednesday, and the Satellite Sentinel Project released before and after photos today that appear to prove the destruction came from the air.

“The explosions destroyed two buildings and heavily damaged at least 21 others, all within 700 meters of the epicenter,” the SSP report says.

“Visible damage includes roof panels blown off and scattered around the area, windows blown out, and walls knocked down. Nothing remains of the 60-meter building, which appears to have been pulverized in the blast.”

The group said a nearby Central Gas and Oil Company depot appears unscathed.

More from GlobalPost: Sudan blames Israel for Khartoum explosion

“At least six impact craters, each approximately (52 feet) wide, are visible near the epicenter of the explosions and are consistent with craters created by air-delivered munitions,” the SSP said.

“If the explosions resulted from a rocket or missile attack against material stored in the shipping containers, then it was an effective surgical strike that totally destroyed any container that may have remained and the adjacent 60-meter-long (90 feet), shed-style building.”

Witnesses told SSP the sky was “red from fireballs,” and three jets were “flying fast around southern Khartoum, to the northwest and northeast,” as a fourth, larger plane flew to the northeast at a much higher altitude.

Sudan accused Israel of the attack that killed two people, Reuters reported.

However, Israel has not commented. “There is nothing I can say about this subject,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, according to Reuters.

Sudan is a considered a major hub in illegal arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip through Egypt, Reuter said.

Al Qaeda has also used Sudan to procure weapons, The Associated Press said.

The target of Wednesday’s strike might have been several shipping containers seen in earlier satellite imagery, the AP said.

The SSP is a partnership between Enough Project and DigitalGlobe sponsored, in part, by actor George Clooney.

It monitors the border between Sudan and South Sudan in efforts to ensure human rights.

More from GlobalPost: Sudan, South Sudan strike deal on border security, oil 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/sudan/121027/satellite-images-khartoum-sudan-weapons-factory-airstrike-ssp