A large explosion in a Sudanese ammunition warehouse last Friday was the result of an Israeli attack targeting weapons intended for Hamas, and not a fire, as claimed by the government, an Arab daily reported on Monday.

Sudanese Intelligence had claimed that the explosion, which took place in a military training camp in Al-Gaili, north of the capital Khartoum, early Friday morning, was caused by “a local fire.” A Sudanese army spokesman, A-Sawarmi Khaled Sa’ad, said the explosion had no connection to “external hands, or a domestic act of sabotage.”

But unnamed Sudanese sources told the London-based daily Al-Arab that Sudan was merely trying to cover the tracks of its cooperation with Hamas, as President Omar Al-Bashir tries to convince the United States and Arab Gulf states that his country is no longer a sponsor of terrorism.

Bashir, the daily reported, met with Hamas’s political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal in the Qatari capital, Doha, two weeks ago.

It would not be the first time that Israel reportedly struck Sudanese territory in a bid to preempt the delivery of weapons to Hamas. Three airstrikes carried out in March 2009 destroyed a convoy of trucks in western Sudan reportedly carrying long-range Iranian missiles to the Gaza Strip. A mysterious explosion in the Yarmouk weapons plant in Khartoum in October 2012, which killed four people, was also believed to be the result of an Israeli airstrike targeting arms destined for Hamas.

Al-Arab noted that the official Sudanese narrative regarding Friday’s incident was contradictory. The government spoke of a local fire that was quickly put out, but eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud explosion followed by a surge of flames. In addition, a statement issued by the intelligence claiming no injuries or damage contradicted an army communique which reported six men injured in the blast.

In Israel, Lt. Libby Weiss of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that the army had no comment about the report.

-Times of Israel