U.S. charges Libyan in 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270

By Mark Hosenball and David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States on Monday unsealed criminal charges against a third alleged conspirator in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people, mostly Americans. The suspect, Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi, a former senior Libyan intelligence official, was charged with two criminal counts related to the bombing.

Reuters December 22, 2020 00:10:57 IST
U.S. charges Libyan in 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270

US charges Libyan in 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270

By Mark Hosenball and David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States on Monday unsealed criminal charges against a third alleged conspirator in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people, mostly Americans.

The suspect, Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi, a former senior Libyan intelligence official, was charged with two criminal counts related to the bombing. He is in Libyan custody, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said, adding that U.S. officials are hopeful that Libya will allow Masud to be tried in the United States.

"No amount of time or distance will stop the United States and our Scottish partners from pursuing justice in this case," Barr told a news conference Monday.

The Justice Department said Masud carried the bomb that eventually blew up the plane from Libya to Malta in a suitcase and then set the device's timer.

It said that from around 1973-2011 Masud worked for Libyan intelligence, including as a bomb-making expert. It alleged Masud was involved in the 1986 bombing of the LaBelle Discotheque in West Berlin, Germany that killed two U.S. service members.

In 1991, two other alleged Libyan intelligence operatives were charged in the Lockerbie bombing: Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.

Megrahi was found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing in 2001 by a Scottish court which convened in the Netherlands. He was jailed in Scotland but later was allowed to return to Libya on compassionate grounds before dying of cancer in 2012. The Scottish court found Fhimah not guilty.

Barr said the breakthrough that led to charges against Masud came after the U.S. learned in 2016 that he "had been arrested after the collapse of the Qaddafi regime and interviewed by a Libyan law enforcement officer in September 2012."

The Justice Department said late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi personally thanked Masud and Fhimah for attacking the American target, and that Qaddafi described the operation as a total success.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball and David ShepardsonEditing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.