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Department of Justice Charges Alleged Bombmaker Behind 1988 Terror Attack on Pan Am Flight 103


The Department of Justice announced on Monday that they are prosecuting the alleged bombmaker behind the 1988 terror attack on Pan Am Flight 103. They identified the defendant as Abu Agila Muhammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, a “former senior Libyan intelligence officer” for the “Muamar Qaddafi regime.”

“Let there be no mistake: no amount of time or distance will stop the United States, and its partners in Scotland, from pursuing justice in this case,” U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in prepared remarks. “Well over a third of Americans alive today were not yet born on the day of the Lockerbie bombing or would not have been old enough to remember it. But for those of us who do remember, that tragic event and the iconic images of its aftermath, some of which are displayed here today, are forever seared in our memories.”

Authorities called the Pan Am explosion the most devastating terror attack in United States history before the 9/11 terror attack. The plane, flying from London to New York City, exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 people on board–including 190 Americans–were killed. 11 locals died as a result of falling debris.

Two Libyan intelligence agents were eventually indicted in 1991 for the bombing, authorities. Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah was found not guilty in a 2001 verdict. The other–Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi–was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but was released by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds in 2009 after they and his attorneys said he had terminal prostate cancer. Al-Megrahi, who denied wrongdoing, died in Libya in 2012.

In their complaint, authorities now say that the new defendant, Al-Marimi, popped up in their original investigation, but the only thing they had was a name: “Abu Agela Masud.” They could not identify him, they said. Officials said that the turning point in their search arrived when they obtained and reviewed a copy of an interview between a Libyan law enforcement and “Masud”: Masud allegedly confessed to building the bomb, and working with both al-Magrahi and Fhimah. From the complaint:

On or about September 12, 2012, while MASUD was in Libyan custody, he was interviewed by a Libyan law-enforcement officer. As noted above, the interview was transcribed in Arabic and later translated into English by a translator based in the United Kingdom. All recitations of that statement in this affidavit come from the English translation of the interview. As described in further detail below, during the course of the interview, MASUD admitted that on orders of the ESO [Libya’s now-defunct External Security Organization], and other high ranking ESO operatives, he built the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103.

The defendant is charged with destruction of aircraft resulting in death, and destruction of vehicle used in interstate or foreign commerce by means of an explosive resulting in death.

[Screengrab via ITN by way of CNN]

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