Terrorism

Terrorist Involved in Lockerbie Bombing in US Custody, Victims Remembered

After more than 30 years, another suspect in the United Kingdom’s deadliest terror attack, was in US custody Sunday morning.

Officials stated that Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Kheir Al-Marimi was arrested for allegedly helping make the bomb that blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988, in which all 259 people onboard were killed including 11 killed on the ground in the small town near England.

Abu Agila Mohammad Masud, a top bomb-maker for the late Libyan dictator Moammar Khadafy, is accused of constructing the explosive that downed the airliner and killed 270 people on board, the Wall Street Journal said.

The plane was en route from London to New York when it exploded.

NYPOST reports:

Victims of the attack included 190 Americans and citizens of 20 other countries. Dozens of the slain passengers were Syracuse University students flying home for Christmas after spending a semester studying abroad.

In a statement Sunday, Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said the development was a notable step in the process “to bring those responsible for this despicable act to justice.”

Masud was taken into custody two years after authorities charged him in connection with the massacre. He was being held by Libyan authorities.

The suspect is the third Libyan intelligence official charged in the attack, but would be the first to stand trial on US soil.

“At long last, this man responsible for killing Americans and many others will be subject to justice for his crimes,” William Barr, the US Attorney General at the time, said at a news conference.

With a total of 270 fatalities, it is the deadliest terrorist attack in the history of the United Kingdom, as well as its deadliest aviation disaster.

Following a three-year joint investigation by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrest warrants were issued for two Libyan nationals in November 1991. In 1999, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi handed over the two men for trial at Camp Zeist, the Netherlands, after protracted negotiations and UN sanctions.

In 2001, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, was jailed for life after being found guilty of 270 counts of murder in connection with the bombing. In August 2009, he was released by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in May 2012 as the only person to be convicted for the attack.

On the 32nd anniversary of the bombing, 21 December 2020, Abu Agila Mohammad Masud was charged in the US for having built the bomb that destroyed the aircraft and acting as a co-conspirator.

On December 11, 2022, Scottish authorities announced that Masud was in US custody. The previous month it was reported that Masud had been kidnapped by a militia group in Libya, leading to speculation that he was going to be handed over to US authorities to stand trial.

Read more at the NYPOST.

Read more about the victims and other information at the Pan Am 103 Lockerbie Legacy Foundation.

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CLC

Fmr. Sgt, USAF Intelligence, NSA/DOD; Studied Cryptology at Community College of the Air Force

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