Lockerbie bomb maker suspect is in US custody

The bomb on board the Boeing 747 en route to the United States killed all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground, the deadliest-ever militant attack in Britain.

Lockerbie bombing: Pan Am Flight 103, 21 December 1988 (photo credit: AIR ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BRANCH - AIR ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BRANCH REPORT NO: 2/1990)
Lockerbie bombing: Pan Am Flight 103, 21 December 1988
(photo credit: AIR ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BRANCH - AIR ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION BRANCH REPORT NO: 2/1990)

A man accused of making the bomb that blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988 is in custody in the United States, Scottish prosecutors said on Sunday.

The United States had announced charges against Abu Agila Masud two years ago, and Scotland's Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said he was now in custody.

"The families of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing have been told that the suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Mas'ud Kheir Al-Marimi ("Mas'ud" or "Masoud") is in US custody," a spokesperson for the COPFS said.

"The families of those killed in the Lockerbie bombing have been told that the suspect Abu Agila Mohammad Mas'ud Kheir Al-Marimi ("Mas'ud" or "Masoud") is in US custody."

COPFS spokesperson

"Scottish prosecutors and police, working with UK government and US colleagues, will continue to pursue this investigation, with the sole aim of bringing those who acted along with al-Megrahi to justice."

The COPFS said it would be inappropriate to comment further on a live criminal investigation.

 Floral tributes left at the Memorial Garden in Dryfesdale Cemetery, are seen on the morning of the 30th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 which exploded over the Scottish town on December 21, 1988, killing 259 passengers and crew and 11 residents on the ground, in Lockerbie, Scotland. (credit: JANE BARLOW/POOL VIA REUTERS/FILE PHOTO) Floral tributes left at the Memorial Garden in Dryfesdale Cemetery, are seen on the morning of the 30th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 which exploded over the Scottish town on December 21, 1988, killing 259 passengers and crew and 11 residents on the ground, in Lockerbie, Scotland. (credit: JANE BARLOW/POOL VIA REUTERS/FILE PHOTO)

The BBC first reported Masud's arrest.

A Justice Department official confirmed to Reuters on Sunday that the United States has taken custody of the alleged Pan Am flight 103 bombmaker. Mas'ud is expected to make his initial court appearance in a federal court in Washington, DC.

Further details about the timing of the court hearing will be forthcoming, the spokesperson added.

The 1988 incident

The bomb on board the Boeing 747 en route to the United States killed all 259 people on board and 11 on the ground, the deadliest-ever militant attack in Britain.

In 1991, two other Libyan intelligence operatives were charged in the bombing: Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah.

Megrahi was found guilty of the bombing and was jailed for life in 2001. He was later released because he was suffering from cancer and died in 2012.

Fhimah was acquitted of all charges, but Scottish prosecutors have maintained that Megrahi did not act alone.

In 2020 the United States unsealed criminal charges against Mas'ud, a suspected third conspirator, adding he had worked as a technical expert in building explosive devices.