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U.S. to charge new suspect in 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 35 Syracuse University students

Lockerbie bombing memorial plaque (Tim1965/WikiCommons)

Federal prosecutors are expected to charge a new suspect in the Lockerbie airline bombing 32 years ago that killed 35 Syracuse University students coming home from abroad.

The New York-bound flight from London was destroyed by a bomb packed into a suitcase. The terrorist attack was traced back to Libyan authorities under the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.

All 259 passengers aboard the Pan Am flight were killed, as were 11 people on the ground.

One man — former Libyan intelligence official Abdel Baset al-Megrahi — was convicted of the bombing in the years after the attack, and a second Libyan suspect was acquitted of all charges. al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 on humanitarian grounds after doctors predicted he only had months to live from prostate cancer; he ended up dying three years later at age 60.

This would mark the first new charges in nearly three decades. Justice Department officials are not commenting on the case, but sources have confirmed new charges to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press.

The new charges will come within a week of the Dec. 21 anniversary of the bombing. Current U.S. Attorney General William Barr was serving in the same position in 1991 when the first two arrests were announced.

The new suspect is Libyan bomb expert Abu Agila Mas’ud, The New York Times reported, citing two unnamed sources. His whereabouts are unknown.

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