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Megrahi death closes ‘unfortunate chapter,’ White House says

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
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A woman who lost her son in the bombing is comforted as they picket the Pan Am building in New York, Aug. 21, 1989. …

The White House said Sunday that the death of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi closed "an unfortunate chapter" that opened when Scotland freed the former Libyan intelligence officer on humanitarian grounds in 2009.

"We have received confirmation from the Libyan government that Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi died earlier today," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement. "Megrahi's death concludes an unfortunate chapter following his release from prison in 2009 on medical grounds--a move we strongly opposed.

"As we have long said, we want to see justice for the victims of the Lockerbie bombing and their families," Vietor continued. "We will continue working with our new partners in Libya toward a full accounting of (slain Libyan strongman Moammar) Gadhafi's horrific acts."

The bombing of the Pan Am 103 transatlantic flight to New York from London as it flew over Lockerbie, Scotland,on Dec. 21, 1988, killed 270 people--259 people on board and 11 people on the ground--making it the world's deadliest act of terror until the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Megrahi, who was sentenced to life in prison, said he was innocent. Scottish authorities released him in August 2009 on humanitarian grounds after he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, as doctors gave him just months to live. That decision drew an international uproar fueled by allegations that it was motivated by British and Scottish interests in Libyan oil.

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