At last the press pack’s patience is rewarded

The quiet charm of the affluent Tripoli neighbourhood was interrupted as the foreign press pack descended on the home of Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi yesterday.

The summer sun beat down on the crowd waiting outside the heavy wrought-iron gates. For many it was a familiar spot, having spent days visiting the residence only to be told Megrahi was in a hospital, disappeared, or had even been taken as an accomplice to a fleeing Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Television crews set up satellite dishes on their vans, print journalists snooped for a way into the residence or a look over the high wall, and bemused local translators and fixers sat in a group, watching the charade.

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The palatial residence was well kept. Castellations protruding from the high walls stood freshly painted in green. Security lights and a broken security camera hung from the walls.

As the hours passed, neighbours became increasingly frustrated by the disruption. An elderly gentleman dressed in long robes walked between crews shaking his fist. In the corner, a man watched events calmly, with a superior air.

“I know the Megraghi family very well,” he said. “I know the whole story.”

“I am one hundred per cent sure, he did it,” said the man. “It implicates many people though, high up in the Libyan government.”

Refusing to give his name, the man told The Scotsman the Lockerbie bombing was in direct retaliation for the 1986 Operation El Dorado Canion, in which the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps conducted air strikes against Libya.

With a clink, the front gate opened, and Megrahi’s brother, Abdul Nasser, emerged, with grey-black stubble and a thin frame, looking tired. He was smiling and polite as he began to answer questions.