Sudan says supports Hamas despite Israel's "aggression"
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan will not stop supporting Palestinian group Hamas despite Israeli "aggression," a senior Sudanese official said on Sunday, less than two weeks after Khartoum accused Israel of bombing an arms plant in the Sudanese capital.
Israel accuses Sudan of channelling weapons from Iran to Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, via Egypt's Sinai desert. Sudan denies the charge but often expresses sympathy for Hamas in its conflict with Israel.
A blast at Khartoum's Yarmouk arms factory last month drew new attention to the accusations after Sudan said an Israeli air strike was behind the explosion. Israel has not commented on the blast.
On Sunday, Sudan's Second Vice President al-Haj Adam Youssef said the incident would not stop Sudan supporting Hamas, whose officials have often visited Khartoum in the past, state radio reported in a text message sent to mobile phones.
"We declare our support for Hamas ... Israel's aggression has not scared us," the message quoted him as saying.
A visit by two Iranian warships to a Sudanese port last week highlighted military ties between the two countries, and prompted speculation the stay was related to the arms factory blast. Sudan denied this, saying the visit was "routine."
Israel has declined to admit or deny involvement in a string of explosions in Sudan that the government has blamed on Israeli air strikes in recent years.
In May, Khartoum said a blast in Port Sudan that killed one person resembled an explosion in 2011 it accused Israel of carrying out. Israel did not comment on those blasts, or on a similar incident in eastern Sudan in 2009.
(Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz and Khalid Abdelaziz; editing by Philippa Fletcher)
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