Abu Nidal behind Lockerbie, says aide
August 23, 2002 Posted: 8:54 AM EDT (1254 GMT)
CAIRO, Egypt -- A former close aide to Abu Nidal has
alleged the fugitive Palestinian terrorist was behind the 1988
In a series of interviews published in the Arabic Al Hayat
newspaper, Atef Abu Bakr said Abu Nidal told a meeting his radical
Fatah-Revolutionary Council was behind the explosion on Pan Am fight
The claims come days after Abu Nidal was found dead in a hotel
room in Iraq.
Abu Bakr is a former spokesman for the group and one of Abu
Nidal's closest aides between 1985 and 1989 when he split with him
over leadership of the organisation. Abu Bakr's whereabouts were not
"Abu Nidal told a... meeting of the Revolutionary Council
leadership: I have very important and serious things to say. The
reports that attribute Lockerbie to others are lies. We are behind
it," Abu Bakr was quoted as saying in the interview to be published
in the paper's Friday edition.
Abu Bakr did not say when the alleged meeting took place. The
gathering was attended by five members of the council, including Abu
Bakr and Abu Nidal.
'"If any one of you lets this out, I will kill him even if he was
in his wife's arms,"' Abu Bakr quoting Abu Nidal as saying.
Ghassan Sharbal, al-Hayat's assistant editor who conducted the
interview, said he spoke to Abu Bakr before Abu Nidal's death was
announced this week. He refused to provide other details.
In March, a Scottish appeals court upheld the murder conviction
of former Libyan intelligence agent Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi for
Al-Megrahi was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 20 years.
A second Libyan, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted.
The Libyan was convicted of murdering the 270 people killed when
the New York-bound Pan Am flight exploded over the Scottish town of
Lockerbie on December 21, 1988.
Relatives of the Lockerbie victims renewed their calls for an
independent inquiry into attack in light of Abu Bakr's remarks.
Jim Swire, a spokesman for families of British victims, said
Nidal's possible involvement was "one more of the many questions
which we feel absolutely demand an independent inquiry into
British Labour MP Tam Dalyell is also calling for an inquiry into
the possibility of a Nidal link to the Lockerbie bombing.
Dalyell, who has long argued that the Libyans were not
responsible for the attack, said: "I understand that close
associates of Nidal are now saying that he, and he alone, was
responsible for Lockerbie.
"If these allegations are true they blow everything relating to
Lockerbie out of the water, including the trial in Holland."
Earlier this week Iraqi secret services chief Taher Jalil Habbush
told reporters that Nidal shot himself in the mouth as he was about
to be arrested by Iraqi authorities for communicating with a foreign
Habbush said Nidal pulled out a revolver and shot himself after
saying he wanted to change his clothes when Iraqi agents came to his
Baghdad apartment to take him away.
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