Lockerbie Bomber an Issue for Libyan Rebels

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Family members of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi say he's in a coma and "between life and death" at home in Libya.

On Aug. 22, New York senators asked the Libyan rebels' transitional government to hold al-Megrahi fully accountable for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York. The terrorist attack killed 270 people.

Al-Megrahi was released by the United Kingdom in 2009 after serving only eight years of a life sentence.

He received a hero's welcome when he returned to Libya, and rebel leaders have said they will not extradite him -- upsetting family members of the attack victims.

Meanwhile, a NATO official said rebel forces are fighting Moammar Gadhafi supporters about 30 miles from Sirte, one of the regime's last strongholds. Sunday, rebels took the town of Bin Jawad, 100 miles from Sirte.

"Bin Jawad is now under our control," rebel army leader Fauzi Bu Katf said.

"We don't harm the civilians, but we expect the Gadhafi forces may be about to make extensive fire on the area," he said. "So we will see what we can do about this."

In Tripoli, where Gadhafi's supporters were expelled last week, rebel soldiers have turned his luxury villa into a barracks. They're also taking tours of his private jet.

This weekend, accompanied by chants of "Libya!" and applause, the Arab League restored Libya's membership in the group and recognized the rebel leadership.

As the rebels close in on Gadhafi's remaining strongholds, Libyans are speculating about who might replace him.

While a military-Islamist coalition is possible, there is a groundswell of sentiment for the late King Idris, who was ousted by Gadhafi in 1969.

The king's great nephew, Mohammed el Senussi, addressed the European parliament in April to call for action against Gadhafi's regime.

That has fueled hopes that Libya might return to a constitutional monarchy.

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CBN News
John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.