TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — A two-man delegation from the Pentagon arrived in Tripoli on Saturday to investigate the fate of an American airman missing in Libya since 1986, the official Libyan news agency reported.
The aim of the visit from the Defense Department office responsible for accounting for missing American service personnel “is to search for the aviator whose plane was downed during the American raid on Libya in 1986,” JANA said in a brief report.
It was not clear how long the officials will be in Tripoli, or who they will meet.
An Air Force F-111 bomber and two aviators were lost when the United States bombed two Libyan cities in 1986. The missing airmen were identified as Capt. Fernando L. Ribas-Dominicci of Utuado, Puerto Rico, and Capt. Paul L. Lorence of San Francisco, California.
Dominicci’s remains were returned in 1989 after Vatican intervention.
Libya has said only one body was found.
The bombing raids, in which an estimated 40 Libyans died, were in retaliation for alleged Libyan involvement in the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque that killed two U.S. soldiers and a Turkish woman, and injured 229 people.
The United States has no diplomatic relations with Libya, a state it lists as a sponsor of terrorism, despite the relaxing of contacts after Libya’s decision in December to dismantle its nuclear program under U.S., British and U.N. supervision.
Earlier last year, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing of a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, and agreed to pay compensation to the families of the 270 victims. The decision led the U.N. Security Council to abolish its sanctions against the country.