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Airstrike in Sudanese city leaves at least 22 dead

The attack was one of the deadliest in the fighting in urban areas of the capital and elsewhere in Sudan.
A locator map for Sudan with its capital, Khartoum.
Posted at 2:22 PM, Jul 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-08 14:22:29-04

An airstrike in a Sudanese city on Saturday killed at least 22 people, health authorities said, in one of the deadliest air attacks yet in the three months of fighting between Sudan's rival generals.

The assault took place in the Dar es Salaam neighborhood in Omdurman, the neighboring city of the capital, Khartoum, according to a brief statement by the health ministry. The attack wounded an unspecified number of people, it said.

The ministry posted video footage that showed dead bodies on the ground with sheets covering them and people trying to pull the dead from the rubble. Others attempted to help the wounded. People could be heard crying.

The attack was one of the deadliest in the fighting in urban areas of the capital and elsewhere in Sudan. The conflict pits the military against a powerful paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces. Last month, an airstrike killed at least 17 people including 5 children in Khartoum.

The RSF blamed the military for Saturday's attack and other strikes on residential areas in Omdurman, where fighting has raged between the warring factions, according to residents. The military has reportedly attempted to cut off a crucial supply line for the paramilitary force there.

A spokesman for the military was not immediately available for comment.

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Two Omdurman residents said it was difficult to determine which side was responsible for the attack. They said the military's aircraft have repeatedly targeted RSF troops in the area and the paramilitary force has used drones and anti-aircraft weapons against the military.

At the time of the attack early Saturday, the military was hitting the RSF, which took people's houses as shields, and the RSF fired anti-aircraft rounds at the attacking warplanes, said Abdel-Rahman, one of the residents who asked to use only his first name for his safety.

The conflict broke out in mid-April, capping months of increasing tensions between the military, chaired by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces, commanded by Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo. The fighting came 18 months after the two generals led a military coup in October 2021 that toppled a Western-backed civilian transitional government.

Health Minister Haitham Mohammed Ibrahim said in televised comments last month that the clashes have killed over 3,000 people and wounded over 6,000 others. More than 2.9 million people have fled their homes to safer areas inside Sudan or crossed into neighboring countries, according to U.N. figures.

The conflict has plunged the African country into chaos and turned Khartoum and other urban areas into battlefields. Members of the paramilitary force have occupied people's houses and other civilian properties since the onset of the conflict, according to residents and activists. There were also reports of widespread destruction and looting across Khartoum and Omdurman.

Sexual violence, including the rape of women and girls, has been reported in Khartoum and the western Darfur region, which have seen some of the worst fighting in the conflict. Almost all reported cases of sexual attacks were blamed on the RSF, which hasn't responded to repeated requests for comment.