Thirty-year trail of Lockerbie bomb suspect as defector reveals key clue

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An East German colonel was a key informant in the 30-year hunt for the alleged Lockerbie bomb maker.

The FBI were able to identify the suspect from details given by the army officer who defected to the West.

He said a man he believed killed two US soldiers in a west Berlin nightclub in 1986 was a dark-skinned Libyan called Abu Agila Mas’ud.

The soldier said investigators discovered the name from hotel records where he had stayed.

For years the FBI were unable to ­identify the bomb maker nicknamed The Ghost.

US prosecutors are poised to file an extradition request to Tripoli where he is serving a 10-year term for bomb-making.

It would be the first US trial for the 1988 downing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town that killed 270 people.

A source said: “Prosecutors are confident they have identified the man they believe ­responsible for making the bomb.

“They have never given up on achieving the justice the families of those who died rightfully deserve.”

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was jailed for life by a Scottish court in 2001 before dying in 2012.

A CIA double agent working at Libyan Airlines told investigators al-Megrahi had been with a dark-skinned Libyan.

And a bomb timer fragment found in the debris appeared identical to ones supplied to Libya by a Swiss manufacturer, who described a man who matched Mas’ud’s description.