21st December
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1988 Lockerbie Plane Crash

259 passengers die on board Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York. It exploded at 31,000 feet. 11 people in the Scottish village of Lockerbie were also killed by falling aircraft parts.

The bomb was hidden in an audio cassette tape player.

Islamic terrorists were immediately blamed. The bomb was believed to have got on the plane at the low security airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

It was believed at the time to be in retaliation for an attempt on the life of Colonel Gaddaffi, or for the apparently accidental shooting down of an Iranian Air passenger jet by US forces, which killed 290.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah were eventually handed over by Gaddaffi in an attempt to ease sanctions against Libya.

Fhimah was acquitted, al-Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He continues to claim his innocence.

Pan Am Airlines claimed that it went bankrupt because of the bombing and sought compensation from the Libyan government.

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Other News

1968 The first manned mission to the moon (not to land on it, but to enter it's orbit), Apollo 8, takes off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell Jr, and William Anders were on board.

1975 Carlos the Jackal leads an attack on a meeting of OPEC oil ministers, taking 63 people, including 11 OPEC ministers, hostage. They were released unharmed.

Other days this month can be found on these links:

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