U.S., U.K., Libya renew Lockerbie bombing investigation

Dec. 21, 2013 at 4:05 PM
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LOCKERBIE, Scotland, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The United States, Britain and Libya said Saturday in a joint statement they will renew an investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

This weekend brings the 25th anniversary of the bombing, which killed 270 people when the jetliner exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. It remains the deadliest act of terrorism ever on U.K. soil.

Ceremonies were held in both Lockerbie and Syracuse, N.Y.; 35 students from Syracuse University's foreign exchange program died in the crash, CNN reported.

In Lockerbie, a parish priest said the anniversary will be particularly vivid to the town. Canon Patrick Keegans told the BBC the landmark anniversary would likely hit residents a little harder than usual. "Other anniversaries have been calmer," he said. "This one makes us remember the devastation and horror that all of us experienced 25 years ago."

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said in a written statement prior to the wreath-laying in Lockerbie it was important to also remember the families the victims left behind "as the country prepares to relive the harrowing events of that terrible night."

British Prime Minister David Cameron added: "Over the last quarter of a century much attention has been focused on the perpetrators of the atrocity. Today our thoughts turn to its victims and to those whose lives have been touched and changed by what happened at Lockerbie."

In Syracuse, school leaders and students gathered to honor the memory of those lost. Among the sentiments recalled was a prayer dubbed "A Common Prayer for Peace" written by two religious leaders, one from Syracuse and one from Lockerbie.

"Rising up from the ashes of tragedy, we proclaim our commitment to creating a better, more just world," the homage states.

The two towns have shared a bond since the 1988 tragedy. The university still offers two scholarships each year to students from Lockerbie.

Of the investigation, the three governments reaffirmed their commitment to bringing all relevant facts to light. Officially, only one person, a Libyan national Abdel Baset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, was ever convicted of the bombing. He died last year after having been released from prison in 2009 because he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"We want all those responsible for this most brutal act of terrorism brought to justice, and to understand why it was committed," the governments said in a joint statement. "We are committed to co-operate fully in order to reveal the full facts of the case."

Two special prosecutors from Libya have been appointed to the case and will travel to the United Kingdom in the coming weeks to begin their work, the BBC reported.

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