Greek Police Arrest Lebanese Man Accused of the Killing of US Navy Diver During Hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985

A Lebanese man accused of involvement in the hijacking of a TWA plane and the murder of a US navy diver has been arrested in Greece, police said on Saturday.

The 65-year-old was spotted by policemen in the island of Mykonos and detained on Thursday, a statement said.

Greek authorities said there was a European arrest warrant issued by Germany for the hijacking as well as a kidnapping committed in 1987.

Greek media said he was involved in June 14, 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and the murder of an American passenger.

He was also wanted in connection with a 1987 kidnapping crime, possibly related to his release in return for the freeing of two German citizens held hostage by his accomplices in Lebanon, the source said.

The TWA 847 flight from Cairo to San Diego with stops in Athens, Rome, Boston, and Los Angeles was hijacked shortly after taking off from Athens in 1985.

The hijackers demanded the release of Shi’ite Muslim prisoners from Israeli custody.

Those on board endured a three-day intercontinental ordeal with TWA pilot John Testrake being 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.

Some passengers were beaten and a U.S. Navy diver, Robert Strethem who was on board the aircraft was beaten and murdered. Dozens of passengers were held hostage over the following two weeks. In all, the hijack lasted some 17 days.

On June 15, 1985 during the first stop in Beirut, 23-year-old Stethem of Waldorf, Maryland, was severely beaten by Hamadei and his accomplice and shot point blank in the head.

He was dragged to the opened aircraft door and thrown out onto the tarmac.

Some 34 years on, according to Athens News Agency, it appears Hammadi has been captured once again, arrested during a passport check of cruise ship passengers.

On Friday, he appeared before the prosecutor who ordered his arrest and detention until his extradition to Germany.

Hammadi rejoined Hezbollah upon his release from German prison and in 2007, the FBI announced a new $5 million reward for information leading to his recapture.

Greek media said the man had been arrested in Germany two years after the hijacking but was later exchanged with two Germans who were abducted in Beirut. He has remained a fugitive ever since.

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Source: Daily Mail