Smuggling weapons to Gaza – the long way
DigitalGlobe image of Yarmouk Military Depot shows before and after images of an industrial complex in Khartoum, Sudan that was rocked by explosions last month.
November 19th, 2012
06:36 PM ET

Smuggling weapons to Gaza – the long way

By Tim Lister and Mohamed Fadel Fahmy

Just after midnight on October 24, a series of loud explosions shook a neighborhood on the southern outskirts of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Within minutes, flames shooting skyward illuminated the area, and the Yarmouk Industrial Complex was consumed by fire.

Witnesses said they heard planes in the area, and a subsequent analysis of satellite images revealed six large craters "each approximately 16 meters [52 feet] wide ... and consistent with craters created by air-delivered munitions," according to the Satellite Sentinel Project, a non-governmental organization that analyzed DigitalGlobe imagery.

As the smoke cleared the next day, Sudanese officials blamed Israel for the airstrike, which destroyed a large part of the complex, including an ammunition plant and some 40 shipping containers.

The Satellite Sentinel Project said: "Nothing remains of the 60-meter [197-foot] building, which appears to have been pulverized in the blast."

Filed under: Egypt • Gaza • Israel • Sinai • Sudan
Panetta tries to help secure Sinai with intel aid
Members of the Egyptian security forces take position on a sand dune during an operation in the northern Sinai peninsula on August 08, 2012.
August 20th, 2012
05:27 PM ET

Panetta tries to help secure Sinai with intel aid

By Barbara Starr

Looking to increase security in the Sinai Peninsula, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is offering Egypt a package of classified intelligence-sharing capabilities designed to help it identify military threats in the area and reassure Israel that Egypt can deal with rising militancy along Israel's border, according to a senior Pentagon official.

At the core, is an offer to supply Egypt's military in Sinai with truck-mounted sensors that provide an electronic signal identifying which nation is operating the vehicle. This technology, commonly known as "blue force tracker," has been widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan to identify vehicles at great distances. It is also possible a commercial version of the technology will be offered to the international peacekeeping force in Sinai that includes 700 U.S. troops.

The international force is not authorized to fight extremists, but is facing the potential of increased violence in the region. The official emphasized that nothing has been decided yet, and noted any change in the international peacekeeping force must be agreed to by all nations.