BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Friday, 23 August, 2002, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Abu Nidal 'behind Lockerbie bombing'
Memorial to victims of the Lockerbie bombing
The 1988 bombing claimed 270 lives
A former aide of Abu Nidal says the militant Palestinian leader, who was found dead in Iraq this week, was behind the 1988 bombing of a passenger plane over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi
A Libyan is serving a life sentence for the bombing
In an interview, Atef Abu Bakr says Abu Nidal told a meeting of his Fatah-Revolutionary Council that he had organised the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people.

He told London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat that Abu Nidal had threatened to kill anyone who revealed his responsibility for the attack.

A special Scottish court in the Netherlands convicted a former Libyan government agent, Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, of the Lockerbie bombing and sentenced him to life in prison.


Mr Abu Bakr, a former spokesman for the group, split with Abu Nidal in 1989, a year after the bombing.

Abu Nidal
Abu Nidal was behind a series of deadly attacks in the 1970s and 1980s
"Abu Nidal said during an inner-circle meeting of the leadership of the Revolutionary Council, 'I will tell you something very important and serious, the reports which link the Lockerbie act to others are false reports. We are behind what happened'," Mr Abu Bakr is quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Abu Nidal told the meeting that if anyone leaked what he had said, "I will kill him even if he is in the arms of his wife".

Al-Hayat did not make clear when or where the meeting took place, or who attended apart from Abu Nidal.

A senior British parliamentarian has urged the Foreign Office to investigate the claims "as a matter of the utmost urgency".

Tam Dalyell, a left-wing Labour MP, has long argued that the Libyans were not responsible for the attack and that it was carried out by Abu Nidal.

"If these allegations are true they blow everything relating to Lockerbie out of the water, including the trial in Holland," he said.

House arrest

The group led by Abu Nidal, one of the world's most wanted men before Iraqi authorities announced that he had killed himself in his Baghdad apartment, has been blamed for attacks in which hundreds were killed or wounded in the 1970s and 1980s.

Abu Nidal set up his headquarters in the Libyan capital Tripoli in 1987. He was put under house arrest when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi came under pressure to crack down on militants after the Lockerbie bombing.

Mr Abu Bakr has given a series of exclusive interviews to the Saudi-owned, London-based al-Hayat since the first accounts of Abu Nidal's death emerged.

He has told the newspaper that Abu Nidal ordered the bomb attack on a Gulf Air flight from Abu Dhabi to Karachi in 1983 that killed all 111 people on board.

He also said that his former boss plotted to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 1989 with the co-operation of an Arab state, but then aborted the plan.

And he has claimed that Abu Nidal was responsible for the 1986 attack on a West Berlin disco that killed two US soldiers and a Turkish woman, and wounded 260 others, provoking American air strikes on Libya.

Professor Paul Wilkinson, St Andrews University
"The question of Abu Nidal's involvement adds to the demand for an independent inquiry into Lockerbie"
Abdel Basset al Megrahi's lawyer Eddie McKechnie
"Abu Nidal was thought to have links with the Lockerbie murders right from the beginning"
Lockerbie megapuff graphic


Appeal concludes

Key stories


The trial
See also:

15 May 00 | Middle East
23 Aug 02 | Middle East
20 Aug 02 | Scotland
21 Aug 02 | Middle East
20 Aug 02 | Middle East
14 Mar 02 | In Depth
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |