Hezbollah operative who hijacked plane arrested 34 years later

Greek police arrest terrorist responsible for hijacking of flight out of Athens in 1985, murder of US citizen aboard flight.

Gary Willig ,

Airplane plane landing
Airplane plane landing
iStock

Greek police announced Saturday the arrest of a Hezbollah terrorist responsible for the hijacking of a Greek airplane in which an American citizen was murdered 34 years ago.

TWA Flight 847 was hijacked shortly after takeoff from Athens on June 14, 1985 while on route to San Diego. The hijackers demanded the release of 700 Shi'ite prisoners in Israeli custody.

The hijackers beat unconscious US Navy diver Robert Stethem, who was then 23, before shooting and killing him. The other passengers and crew were gradually released over the course of 17 days.

According to Greek media, Mohammed Ali Hammadi, 65, was the man arrested in connection with the hijacking. He was arrested while attempting to board a cruise ship on the Greek island of Syros and would be transferred to the Korydallos high security prison in Athens to be extradited to Germany.

Hammadi was first arrested in Frankfurt in 1987 and convicted for the hijacking and Stethem's murder by a German court. He was paroled in 2005 and allowed to return to Lebanon despite receiving a life sentence.

The German government refused to extradite Hammadi to the US after Hezbollah kidnapped and threatened to murder two German citizens.

Hammadi and his accomplices, Hasan Izz-Al-Din and Ali Atwa, have remained on the FBI's most wanted list.




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