Suspected Lebanese Hijacker Arrested in Greece

Trans World Airlines

Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.

Hijackers seized control of the Boeing 727 aircraft shortly after it took off from Athens, en route to Rome, on June 14, 1985.

The Lebanese man allegedly shot dead 23-year-old United States navy diver Robert Stethem on June 15, 1985 during the plane's first stop in Beirut.

Over a horrific 17 days, TWA pilot John Testrake was forced to crisscross the Mediterranean with his 153 passengers and crew members, from Beirut to Algiers and back again, landing in Beirut three times before he was finally allowed to stop.

The man was apprehended after disembarking from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday, a Greek police official said.

Beirut Airport was the flawless place to take a hijacked plane. The hijackers then began to release their hostages. (Philippe Bouchon/AFP/Getty Images) A Lebanese woman cleans the slogans which have been writting by the hijackers on the door of the TWA plane at Beirut airport, on July 6, 1985.

According to Reuters when Greek customs officers checked his passport, his name came up as being wanted in Germany.

Police did not release the suspect's name, but several Greek media outlets named him as Mohammed Ali Hammadi.

Two years after the hijacking, the suspect was reportedly arrested in Germany and later exchanged with two Germans who had been abducted in Beirut. He is also a suspect in a 1987 abduction, according to the Greek police. Hammadi, an alleged Hezbollah member, received life in prison as a sentence but was paroled in 2005 and returned to Lebanon.

News agency dpa reported Saturday that Germany's federal prosecutor's office declined to comment on news reports about the case.



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