Sudan says rebel attack on Khartoum defeated
It was the first time fighting had reached the city in decades of conflict between the traditionally Arab-dominated central government of Africa's biggest country and rebels from peripheral regions.
Heavy gunfire and artillery shook Omdurman, across the Nile from the heart of Khartoum. Helicopters and armored vehicles headed for the fighting and an overnight curfew was declared.
"The main aim of this failed terrorist sabotage attack was to provoke media coverage and let people imagine that they had the ability to enter Khartoum," Mandour al-Mahdi, political secretary of the ruling National Congress Party, told state television.
"Thank God this attempt has been completely defeated. Some high level JEM commanders were killed," he said, referring to the Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels.
Sudan accused neighboring Chad of backing the rebels, who made a lightning advance across some 600 km (400 miles) of desert and scrub between Darfur and Khartoum. A top official said the attack destroyed any chance of peace talks.
Chad's government denied involvement, condemning it as an "adventure". The United States and the office of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called for an immediate end to fighting.