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Libyan agent denies bomb link

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CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands -- A Libyan secret service agent has denied all knowledge of explosives used to blow up the Pan Am flight that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

Mansour Omran Ammar Saber was questioned by prosecutors on Thursday at the Lockerbie bombing trial, who have alleged he gathered explosives and detonators used to blow up Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.

Saber is named as one of the "others" in the indictment against Libyans Al-Amin Khalifa Fahima and Abdel Basset al-Megrahi who are standing trial for the bombing at a specially built Scottish court in the Netherlands.

Prosecutors allege that they planted the bomb on board the flight, which then exploded, killing 270 people and that Saber and other Libyan secret service agents provided the explosives, detonator and timer.

Saber, smartly dressed in a gray suit, fiddled with a set of beads while giving his testimony as the prosecution sought to show he and other secret service agents were in possession of bomb-making equipment.

They referred to one incident in February 1988, when Saber was arrested at Dakar airport in Senegal, beaten unconscious and held in custody for four months after explosives and timers were discovered, allegedly in his baggage.

Saber denied all knowledge of the explosives.

The prosecution say the timer was made by Swiss firm Mebo on the orders of the head of the Libyan Secret Service in 1985.

Prosecutor Alan Turnbull showed the court photographs of explosives, timers, wires and a gun, believed to have been confiscated from Saber on his arrival at Dakar airport.

He questioned Saber on how the timer had ended up at Dakar airport at the same time as him.

"It's none of my business and I don't know anything about it," Saber said.

Later defence lawyers sought to show that Palestinian groups were active and gathering weapons and explosives in Germany shortly before the Pan Am 103 explosion.

They questioned three members of a German police unit about their investigation which resulted in the arrest of several Palestinians and the discovery of weapons, ammunition and explosives at a Frankfurt flat in October 1988.

The defence, which must only establish a reasonable doubt in the minds of the judges to secure an acquittal, has suggested the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) were involved in the attack on the Pan Am plane.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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