Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir threatened Israel with a “painful” response, after accusing it of bombing the Yarmouk military production complex in Sudan in Khartoum last month.
“Israel will remain the number one enemy, and we will not call them anything except the Zionist enemy,” Bashir said in his speech, shown in footage dated Thursday, his first public appearance since undergoing surgery in Saudi Arabia.
“I am in perfect health, and our response to Israel will be painful,” state radio quoted Bashir, 68, as saying in a text message.
Sudan last month accused Israel of carrying out an air strike on the Yarmouk arms factory in the south of Khartoum, causing a blast that killed four people. Israel has not commented on the charge. It has long accused Sudan of channeling weapons from Iran to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
The president left hospital in the Saudi kingdom on Wednesday and was recovering there after a “successful small surgery,” his second in less than four months. The operation followed a normal medical check connected to an infection in his vocal cords, official media reported.
Known for his sharp-tongued public speeches, Bashir had been relatively quiet in recent weeks, making his fewer orations more restrained.
Bashir also lamented what he described as Israel’s superior, radar-evading aircraft technology, but ruled out normalizing relations with the Jewish state.
The Sudanese culture and information minister, Ahmad Bilal Othman, said that the evidence gathered at the scene of the bombing proved Israel’s involvement in the attack, and that Sudan reserves its right to retaliate.
Over 23 years in power, Bashir has weathered multiple armed rebellions, years of U.S. trade sanctions, an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, waves of student protests and the secession of oil-producing South Sudan last year.