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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Suspect arrested 34 years after plane bombing

Abu Agila Mohammad Masud was reportedly kidnapped from his home in Tripoli last month

A Libyan man, accused of making the bomb that killed 270 people in the deadliest terror attack on British soil, has been taken into custody by the US Justice Department, a spokesman confirmed on Sunday. Abu Agila Mohammad Masud will be tried in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

The bomb allegedly made by Masud killed 259 passengers and crew aboard Pan Am Flight 103 and 11 more on the ground as it destroyed the plane flying over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. 

While US officials declined to elaborate on how Masud ended up in their custody, last month it was reported that he was kidnapped by armed men from his residence in Tripoli. 

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Masud was not charged with the terrorist plot until 2020, at which point the US sought his extradition based on a confession he had supposedly given to Libyan authorities when he was arrested following the NATO-driven collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s government in Libya in 2012. According to US officials, Masud confessed to building the bomb and working with two co-conspirators to carry out the attack, operating under the instructions of Libyan intelligence. 

The pursuit of Masud only began after the death of the previous suspect, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was released from a life sentence in prison on compassionate grounds due to terminal cancer in 2009 and died three years later.

Found guilty for the Lockerbie bombing in 2000, al-Megrahi maintained his innocence until the end, supported by human rights campaigners like Nelson Mandela and even the father of one of the doomed flight’s passengers.

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Another Libyan intelligence officer charged with participating in the bombing, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted. Masud will be the only one of the three charged over the attack to be tried in a US court.

The suspect previously received a 10-year sentence in Libya for building a bomb that was used in another attack. 

December 12, 2022 at 04:09AM
RT

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