On the 23rd anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, U.S. officials pledged to continue to hunt for those behind the terrorist act that killed 270 people, including the daughter of a Cape May County couple.
John Brennan, President Barack Obama's counterterrorism chief, said the bombing victims can rest more peacefully knowing that longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is dead.
He said the U.S. is pushing the new Libyan leaders for access and information into the deadly bombing.
The anniversary has never been easy for Susan Cohen, of Middle Township. Cohen lost her 20-year-old daughter Theodora the day the plane exploded over Lockerbie, killing 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground.
But this anniversary, the first since the death of Gadhafi, was a little bit easier to handle.
“(His death) has helped me get through today,” Cohen said from her home. “He died a hideous and much-deserved death.”
Cohen has long hoped for a full investigation into the bombing that Gadhafi is believed to have ordered and she welcomes news that the new Libyan government has said it will cooperate with American and British investigators.
“There are other people who would certainly know about this,” she said.
Brennan made the comments Wednesday at a memorial service marking the anniversary of the bombing. Gadhafi's regime eventually took responsibility for the attack. Many of the victims were American.
“The new leadership of Libya understands the great importance we attach to this matter and we are working diligently to gain access to any information and individuals associated with this case,” Brennan said, according to a USA Today report.
Two Libyans, Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, were indicted by a federal grand jury in November 1991 on 193 felony counts in connection with the bombing. They were also charged in Scotland with murder and conspiracy in the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing.
Megrahi was convicted, but released to Libyan authorities on compassionate grounds in August 2009, while Fhimah was found not guilty and acquitted.
“We should find out as much as we can,” Cohen said. “It is very important that as much information as possible comes out.”
Cohen said she is hopeful that an investigation will lead to additional criminal indictments for those involved in planning and executing the bombing.
“If they find those people, they should go to trial. No one should be able to get away with blowing up an American civil airliner,” she said.
Theodora Cohen would be 43 years old if she were alive today.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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