“Having one of the people responsible for the murder of our loved ones stand trial in the United States is one of the most important things for the families and for all of us,” Kara Weipz, whose brother was killed, told CBS. in the attack. New. The arrest showed a commitment to the families of federal government victims, Weipz said.
The December 1988 mid-air bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 259 people in the air and 11 on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland, was one of the worst terrorist attacks against Americans before 9/11. A total of 190 Americans were among those killed; 35 of those killed were Syracuse University students returning from a semester abroad.
Libya, and then-dictator Muammar Gaddafi, have long been held responsible for the attack and subsequent efforts to prevent the perpetrators from being prosecuted internationally. The bombing remains the deadliest terrorist attack on British soil.
Mas’ud would be the first to stand trial in a US courtroom for the attack.
Ken Dornstein, whose brother was killed in the attack, wrote and produced a PBS documentary series “Frontline” which investigated Mas’ud’s role in the bombing.
“If there’s one person alive who could tell the story of the Flight 103 bombing and end decades of unanswered questions about exactly how it was carried out – and why – it’s Mr. Mas’ud,” Dornstein said in an email to The New York Times, after learning that Mas’ud was in custody. “The question, I guess, is whether he’s finally ready to talk.”
In 2017, US officials obtained a copy of an interview in which Mas’ud told Libyan law enforcement that he built the bomb used to attack the robbery and worked with two other people to execute him, according to US officials.
Crediting the intelligence agencies, retired General Jack Keane told Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures” on Sunday that the development was likely a “huge relief” for the victims’ families.
“The pain they have endured for all these years and the fact that no one is truly held accountable for this horrific act committed against their family members and loved ones – we finally have an answer,” Keane said.
In 2001, former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of bombing the flight, and he is the only person to be convicted of the attack. He was released in 2009 on humanitarian grounds because he was terminally ill with cancer and died in Libya in 2012.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.