US in secret deal with Libyan rebels to capture Lockerbie bomber
Washington, July 3: US President Barack Obama has reportedly struck a secret deal with the Libyan rebels to capture freed Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, in the troubled country and hand him over to US Special Forces.
The Daily Mail quoted senior Congressional sources in Washington as saying that Obama has put a condition before Libyan rebels that they should hand over Megrahi to keep getting support from the US.
The plan to capture the bomber came after US Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder last week to demand the US 'continue working to return Megrahi to prison'.
The mission would involve Megrahi being flown to a neutral Arab country by US Special Forces once he is handed over by the rebels, and then on to America to face trial. Reports suggest that British SAS soldiers are unlikely to be directly involved in the operation.
Lautenberg and Menendez issued a statement, saying: "The upheaval within the Libyan government presents new opportunities to gather information and demand accountability for this heinous crime."
"The US case to prosecute remains open and our government must do everything to help bring all of those responsible, including Gaddafi, to justice," it added.
Fifty-nine-year-old Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer, was convicted in 2001 of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, which killed 270 people in 1988.
Although he was serving a life sentence, the Scottish Government released him in August 2009 on compassionate grounds after doctors said that he was suffering from prostate cancer and would not survive more than three months.
He was given a hero's welcome after being flown from Britain to Libya.
However, the issue was brought to light again after reports emerged that Megrahi was still alive, and living in a good condition in Libya.
Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com