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Pan Am Flight 103: Qaddafi ordered it bombed, says Libyan minister

Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, was a bombing ordered by Muammar Qaddafi, according to a former Libyan justice minister, in an interview with a Swedish newspaper. All 243 passengers and 16 crew members on Pan Am Flight 103 were killed.

Scottish rescue workers and crash investigators search the area around the cockpit of Pan Am flight 103 in a farmer's field east of Lockerbie Scotland in this 1988 file photo.

Greg Bos/Reuters/File

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Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi ordered the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, a former Libyan cabinet minister was quoted as saying by a Swedish newspaper on Wednesday.

Former Justice Minister Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil, reported to have resigned this week over the violence used by the government against protesters, told the tabloid Expressen he had evidence Gaddafi ordered the bombing that killed 270 people.

"I have proof that Gaddafi gave the order for (the) Lockerbie (bombing)," Expressen quoted Al Jeleil as saying in an interview at an undisclosed large town in Libya.

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The newspaper did not say what the evidence of Qaddafi's involvement in the bombing was.

A Libyan, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, was tried and jailed in Scotland for the bombing, and Gaddafi, in power since 1969, was branded an international pariah for years.

In 2009, the Scottish government freed al-Megrahi on humanitarian grounds after doctors said he had terminal prostate cancer, a decision strongly criticized by the United States. He returned to Libya and is still alive.

"In order to conceal it (his role in ordering the bombing), he did everything in his power to get Megrahi back from Scotland," al Jeleil was quoted as saying.

"He (Qaddafi) ordered Megrahi to do it."

(Editing by Tim Pearce)

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