On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was en route from Frankfurt, Germany to Detroit, Michigan when it was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 passengers and crew members on board the plane were killed, along with 11 people on the ground.
The investigation into the bombing revealed that a bomb had been placed in a suitcase and placed in the plane’s cargo hold. The suitcase had been checked onto the flight in Malta, and the bomb was detonated over Lockerbie when the plane was at its highest altitude.
Also read: Lockerbie bombing death toll and investigation: All you need to know
In 1991, two Libyan nationals were charged with the bombing, but it wasn’t until 1999 that one of the suspects, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. The other suspect, Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, was acquitted.
The attack was believed to have been carried out in retaliation for the United States’ involvement in the bombing of Libya in 1986, which killed dozens of civilians. However, some have questioned the evidence against al-Megrahi, and the case remains controversial.
Also read: Who is Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi?
In 2003, al-Megrahi was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was released from prison on compassionate grounds in 2009, sparking outrage from the families of the victims. He died in 2012, still proclaiming his innocence.
The attack on Pan Am Flight 103 was one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on a commercial airline, and it led to increased security measures at airports around the world. It also sparked a series of diplomatic tensions between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Libya.
Also read: Where is Lockerbie?
The families of the victims have continued to seek justice and closure in the decades since the bombing. In 2014, a memorial was erected in Lockerbie to honor the victims of the attack. The tragedy serves as a reminder of the devastating impact of terrorism on individuals and communities.
Authorities in Scotland announced Sunday that a Libyan man who is suspected of helping to build the bomb that brought down the Pan Am Flight 103 is now in US custody.
According to a representative for the UK Crown Office and Prosecutor Fiscal Service, the United States prosecuted Abu Agila Mohammad Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi for his suspected role in the bombing two years ago in 2020.