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Sudan protesters call for attacks on Westerners

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese protesters have called for attacks on Americans and other foreigners living in Khartoum during rallies against the Gaza offensive, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

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Students and religious groups have held small-scale protests almost every day since Israel started the attack on Gaza it says is in response to Islamist militants firing rockets into Israel.

The U.S. embassy in Khartoum said some protesters “have made threats against U.S. and other Western citizens in Sudan.”

At least one speaker at a rally outside the embassy on Monday read out a list of places and neighbourhoods where Westerners are known to gather, the embassy said.

The list included Khartoum’s Afra shopping centre, Amwaj, a Middle Eastern restaurant, and O-Zone, an open air cafe popular with Westerners and rich Sudanese.

The threats come against the backdrop of an expected ruling from the International Criminal Court on whether to issue an arrest warrant against Sudan’s president over suspected war crimes in Darfur.

A senior official from Sudan’s Foreign Ministry told Reuters on Monday an arrest warrant would fuel anti-Western sentiments already heightened by Gaza and promised to give diplomats advance warning if they were in danger.


Sudanese officials have said the global court’s case is part of a Western conspiracy against Khartoum, led by the United States, Britain and France.

The U.N. in Khartoum put out a statement saying it had heard unions and other organisations were planning a large scale Gaza protest in the capital on Thursday, under the title “Grand Fury.”

The British Embassy in Khartoum said it was monitoring the rallies and advised its citizens to “maintain vigilance” and avoid crowds.

The United States advised its staff to stay away from the O-Zone cafe in October, saying it had evidence a group called “Al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Niles” had threatened U.S. citizens.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court asked judges in July to issue an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accusing him of orchestrating genocide in Sudan’s western Darfur region. The judges are widely expected to decide on his request in coming weeks.

International experts say 200,000 have died since mostly non-Arab rebels in Darfur took up arms against the government in 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting the region.

Editing by Ralph Boulton