But there is plenty of reason not to dismiss them. Evidence abounds that the facility was destroyed in an aerial bombardment. An AFP report from Khartoum states that both an AFP journalist and local residents witnessed either an “aircraft or missile” flying overhead. The journalist “saw two or three fires flaring across a wide area, with heavy smoke and intermittent flashes of white light bursting above the state-owned factory.” A video of the incident uploaded to YouTube is consistent with this description — it’s clear that there were explosions above the factory, even if it is unclear what caused them. Yesterday, Girifna, a global network of Sudanese anti-regime activists with numerous sources and members in Khartoum, tweeted, “witnesses suggest [the facility] was attacked.”

There’s really only one country that has the capabilities or the motive to wage a pinpointed aerial assault on a single wing of a single weapons facility in the southern reaches of city of a 5 million people: Israel. The defense ministers of Sudan and Iran signed a “military cooperation agreement” in 2008. Sudan has hosted Iranian Revolutionary Guard personnel, and allegedly served as a transit point for weapons bound for Hamas, in the Gaza Strip. The Israelis are acutely aware of the situation: an April, 2009 diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks paraphrases Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as telling U.S. officials that “the arms pipeline runs from Iran to Sudan to Egypt.” And in a meeting with U.S. special envoy Scott Gration, Sudanese intelligence chief Salah Ghosh acknowledged that anti-Israel weapons smuggling was occurring on Sudanese territory — but denied that his government was directly involved (“‘The Rashaida (tribe in the eastern Sudan engaged in smuggling) in many countries is now beginning to talk about killing Americans and Israelis,'” Ghosh was reported as saying)…

So why do it? Yaari hypothesizes that the facility was partly dedicated to the Iranian-assisted production of weapons headed for Gaza.