Lockerbie bomb suspect in US custody

A former Libyan intelligence officer accused of making the bomb that killed more than 250 people aboard a plane flying over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 is in U.S. custody, according to Scottish officials.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) roughly two years ago announced criminal charges against Abu Agila Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi in relation to the bombing that killed 270 people when Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed in flight on Dec. 21, 1988.

“The families of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing have been told that the suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi (“Mas’ud” or “Masoud”) is in US custody,” a spokesperson for Scotland’s Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said in an email.

“Scottish prosecutors and police, working with UK Government and US colleagues, will continue to pursue this investigation, with the sole aim of bringing those who acted along with Al Megrahi to justice,” the spokesperson added.

The tragedy remains the deadliest terror attack on British soil, and a criminal complaint filed in the Washington, D.C.-based federal trial court charged Al-Marimi with destruction of an aircraft resulting in death and destruction of a vehicle by means of an explosive resulting in death.

Former Attorney General William Barr, who previously held the post in the George H.W. Bush administration in the years following the attack, announced the charges in his final days in the Trump administration, calling it the “product of decades of hard work” at the time.

“As to all the victims and the families, we cannot take away your pain from your loss, but we can seek justice for you,” Barr said at the time. “Our message to other terrorists around the world is this – you will not succeed – if you attack Americans, no matter where you are, no matter how long it takes, you will be pursued to the ends of the earth until justice is done.”

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.

Two other Libyan intelligence operatives, Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, were also charged in connection with the bombing.

Fhimah was acquitted of his charges, while al-Megrahi was convicted on 270 counts of murder in 2001 before passing away from cancer 11 years later.

Citizens from 21 countries were killed in the attack, including 190 Americans and 43 from the United Kingdom, according to the DOJ. 

Eleven of the victims perished on the ground as fiery debris from the plane rained down on Lockerbie following the bomb’s explosion at 31,000 feet, which took place 38 minutes after the plane took off from London’s Heathrow Airport en route to New York City.

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