Tripoli, Libya. In a rare interview the son of the Lockerbie 747 bomber has warned that Britain faces an unprecedented wave of terror attacks from Libya, as he claimed the UK brought the Manchester attack on itself.
Pan Am Flight 103 was a regularly scheduled Pan Am transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York. On 21 December 1988, the aircraft operating the transatlantic leg of the route, was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew, in what became known as the Lockerbie bombing.
Following a three-year joint investigation by Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), arrest warrants were issued for two Libyan nationals in November 1991.
In 1999, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi handed over the two men for trial. In 2001, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was jailed for life after being found guilty of 270 counts of murder in connection with the bombing. In August 2009, he was released by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died in May 2012, the only person to be convicted for the attack.
The son of the bomber Khaled al-Megrahi said his country had become a rich recruiting ground for terrorists and that there was “only a sea” between them and Europe.
The comments came after a week after Salman Abedi, 22, carried out a suicide attack at a pop concert at Manchester Arena, leaving 22 dead and dozens injured.
The son of Libyan parents who were granted refuge from Gaddafi in the UK in the early 1990s, he is thought to have come back to Britain from Libya just days before the massacre.
Speaking from his home in the Libyan capital Tripoli, Mr Megrahi said: “It was Manchester but tomorrow it will be some other place. “The militants will kill each other here and then come to each city in the west. “A lot of Libyans are hungry, have no money and no justice. If the West continues its stance you will see a lot of the militants coming to the UK.” Megrahi forecasted.
Britain joined a coalition of countries bombing Libya in support of the opposition in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. A British parliamentary report last year found that the military intervention, ordered by former Prime Minister David Cameron, relied on flawed intelligence and hastened the North African country’s political and economic collapse.
Mr Megrahi urged the West to resume air strikes on the militants to curb the country’s growing extremist networks. “The West knows what’s happening in Libya but they only want to watch and see. You make Libya like this. You will see a lot of terrorists in the UK and everywhere.” Megrahi concluded.