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Over 30 Years Later, Third Alleged Pan Am 103 Bomber Faces Charges

Over 30 Years Later, Third Alleged Pan Am 103 Bomber Faces Charges
Joe Cortez

Over 30 Years Later, Pan Am 103 Bomber Face Charges

On the 32nd anniversary of the Pan Am Flight 103 tragedy over Lockerbie, Scotland, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed charges against a third accused conspirators in the bombing plot. Abu Agila Muhammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, a Libyan national, is now facing charges for his alleged role in the plot.

On Dec. 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103, a Boeing 747 named “Clipper Maid of the Seas,” exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 souls onboard. Only one of the three Libyan conspirators, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was found guilty in the terrorist plot.

Over 30 years later, the U.S. Department of Justice now says they have located the person they believe to be the third conspirator. In a press conference, outgoing U.S. attorney general Bill Barr announced charges against Abu Agila Muhammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi for his alleged role in the plot.

Identification of Third Conspirator Completes Decades of Investigations

The worst terrorist attack upon aviation at the time, Pan Am Flight 103 was brought down by a bomb planted on the aircraft by Libyan government officials. Only one person was convicted in the aftermath: former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison by a Scottish court.

However, it was long suspected that a third person was involved in the plot. Identified only as “Abu Agela Masud,” the U.S. government was unable to identify the individual for years.

Information from the the Justice Department shows the break in the case came in September 2016, after former Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi was overthrown in a civil war. Law enforcement officials discovered the third alleged conspirator was arrested in 2012 and admitted to building the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103.

“According to the criminal complaint affidavit, Masud built the bomb that destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 and worked with Megrahi and Fhimah to carry out the plot,” Barr said at a press conference held by the Justice Department. “The affidavit also alleges that the operation had been ordered by the leadership of Libyan intelligence and that, after the downing of the aircraft, Qaddafi had thanked Masud for the successful attack on the United States.”

Currently, Masud is being held by Libyan authorities. The Justice Department intends to work with the Scottish government and Libya to bring Masud to trial for his alleged role in the plot.

“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,” said Barr.”

Only One Individual Convicted in Pan Am Flight 103 Bombing

If Masud is tried, he would be the third person to face charges over the Pam Am Flight 103 bombing, but could only be the second conviction. Accused co-conspirator Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, a former Libyan Arab Airlines employee, was found not guilty in 2001.

Photo courtesy: U.K. Air Accident Investigation Branch Report 2/1990 Boeing 747-121, N739PA, 21 December 1988; published Dec. 10, 2014

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