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Libyan families of US bomb victims protest
( 2003-09-25 09:05) (Agencies)

Families of people killed when U.S. jets bombed Libya urged Tripoli on Wednesday to suspend payments to relatives of the victims of the 1988 downing of a Pan Am airliner until they receive compensation from the United States.

U.S. jets struck Tripoli and Benghazi on April 15, 1986, in retaliation for the bombing of a German disco in which two U.S. servicemen died 10 days earlier.

The attack killed 27 people and injured 170, said Mohammed Shermit, the secretary-general of the Families of the American Aggression Victims Society.

The families previously filed a lawsuit seeking compensation, but a U.S. federal court dismissed their claim for damages.

They decided to renew their appeal for compensation after the Libyan government led by Moammar Gadhafi accepted responsibility for the terrorist bombing of the Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland and agreed to pay $2.7 billion to the families of the 270 people killed.

"We had to make a move forward to demand compensation for our victims," Shermit said at a news conference in Geneva. "They are innocent and should not have been bombed."

The compensation should be equal to the amount paid to the relatives of the Lockerbie victims, said Shermit, who told reporters that he lost an 8-year-old daughter and four other family members in the bombing ordered by then-President Reagan.

A Libyan diplomat accompanied the group at the news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations, but he said he was unable to comment on behalf of his government. The State Department had no immediate comment Wednesday.

The U.N. Security Council on Sept. 12 lifted 11-year-old sanctions on Libya after Gadhafi's government took responsibility for the Pan Am attack and agreed to the compensation.

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