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Pan Am 103 families cheer Libyan freedom fighters

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A generation after they lost their loved ones in the Lockerbie bombing, families may finally be close to confirming what they’ve long known in their gut: Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi ordered the attack that killed 270 people days before Christmas 1988.

Indeed, answers in the demise of Flight 103 over Scotland may be close at hand.

Yesterday, former Libyan justice minister Mustafa Abdel-Jalil,
who quit his post to protest the violent suppression of demonstrators in his homeland, announced that he has proof Gadhafi personally ordered the attack of the Kennedy Airport-bound plane.

He did not furnish proof in the interview with a Swedish newspaper, but the revelation comes as little surprise to most of the bereaved.

They’d already been cheering the efforts of the Libyan people to oust Gadhafi with particular vigor.

“This is poetic justice!” crowed Kathleen Flynn, of Montville, N.J., the mother of Colgate University student and Flight 103 victim John Patrick Flynn. “I’m 100 percent sure Gadhafi organized the bombing of 103.”

A regime change, they hope, may finally deliver a justice long-denied, and rip the veil off the reasons behind the terrorist act that launched an era of heightened travel security.

Lockerbie families share a sorrowful solidarity with Libyan dissidents and are united in their desire to see him deposed, explained Mary Kay Stratis of Montvale, N.J., some of whom they met at a 2009 UN protest.

“So many of them shared horror stories of how their family members had been beaten, kidnapped and killed for no reason,” recalled Stratis, who lost her husband, Elia.

Gadhafi must stand trial not just for Flight 103, but for “all the oppression and poverty and horrible conditions he has imposed” on innocent Libyans, said Stratis, chairwoman of Victims of PanAm Flight 103.

Many victims’ family members are hoping that answers to their questions will be supplied once Gadhafi is no longer in power. “It would be nice to know if Syria and Iran were involved,” noted Joan Dater of Mahwah, N.J., whose daughter Gretchen died in the air disaster.

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