In 1988, an aircraft bombardment killed 270 people, including 3 SIer. Now the alleged bomb maker is indicted.
STATEN ISLAND, NY – The US Department of Justice on Monday announced criminal charges against a Libyan accused of fabricating the bomb that detonated Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 , killing 270 people, including three Staten Islanders.
Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi (Masud), was charged with destroying an aircraft resulting in death and destroying a vehicle used in interstate or foreign commerce by an explosion resulting in death.
The deadly attack on December 21, 1988 destroyed a Boeing 747 just 38 minutes after the plane took off from Heathrow Airport in London to JFK International Airport in Queens.
Prosecutors said they would seek to extradite Masud to the United States for trial.
Masud is a former senior Libyan intelligence officer, officials said.
“Our message to other terrorists around the world is this: you will not succeed: if you attack Americans, no matter where you are, no matter how long it takes, you will be chased to the ends of the earth until justice be done, ”Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
The announcement came 32 years to the day after the explosion.
Three Staten Islanders were on board the fateful transatlantic flight: David J. Platt, 33, of New Dorp, lived in England while working for an architectural firm. He was married and the father of three children.
Daniel Rosenthal, 20, of St. George, was a student at Vassar College.
Kathleen Jermyn, 20, from Annadale, was a SUNY Oneonta student.
Jermyn, a junior, had just completed a semester studying economics at Ealing College London.
“What happened that day was an overwhelming experience,” his father Raymond Jermyn, a retired city fire brigade lieutenant, told Advance / SILive.com in 2004. “The terrorist attack on his plane was one of the first such attacks to happen. When you think back to what happened, you think how ridiculous it all was. It remains ridiculous to this day. We were supposed to be us. Concerned about airport security then, and we’re supposed to be concerned about airport security today.
At the time, the bombing was the deadliest air attack in U.S. history.
It was supplanted by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Authorities allege that the plot took place at the end of 1988.
At that time, Libyan intelligence officials ordered Masud to travel to Malta with a suitcase he had been tasked with packing that was capable of carrying concealed explosives, a criminal complaint said.
He met two co-conspirators in Malta – Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah – and stayed there for several days, officials said.
On the morning of the explosion, Masud set the timer on the device in the suitcase to go off 11 hours later, as his co-conspirators had requested, according to the complaint.
The suitcase, a “mid-size” Samsonite, was placed on a flight in Malta to Frankfurt, Germany. Through a refueling flight, he made it to London Heathrow Airport, where he was loaded onto the Pan Am flight to the United States, officials said.
Three months after the attack, Masud and Fhimah met with then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and other officials who thanked them for performing a great national duty against the Americans, authorities said.
Gaddafi said the operation was a complete success.
Megrahi is the only man convicted of the terrorist attack.
However, in August 2009 the 57-year-old was released by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds after serving eight years of his life sentence.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer; doctors said he had less than three months to live, paving the way for his return to Libya.