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32 years on, US charges Libyan bombmaker in Lockerbie attack

The Justice Department unseals charges accusing a Libyan bomb expert in the 1988 explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, an attack that killed 259 people in the air and an additional 11 on the ground.

The charges are announced on the 32nd anniversary of the bombing and in the final news conference of Attorney General William Barr’s tenure, underscoring his personal attachment to a case that unfolded during his first stint at the Justice Department.

He announces an earlier set of charges against two Libyan intelligence officials in his capacity as acting attorney general nearly 30 years ago, vowing that the investigation would continue. Though Barr had not appeared at a press conference in months, he led this one two days before his departure as something of a career bookend.

In presenting new charges, the Justice Department is revisiting a case that deepened the chasm between the United States and Libya, laid bare the threat of international terrorism more than a decade before the September 11 attacks and produced global investigations and punishing sanctions.

AP

A policeman walking away from the damaged cockpit of the 747 Pan Am airliner that exploded and crashed over Lockerbie, Scotland, with 259 passengers on board, December 22, 1988. (ROY LETKEY/AFP)
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