Police in Greece say they have arrested a suspect involved in a 34-year-old hijacking that killed an American serviceman.
While authorities refused to release the suspect’s name, several media outlets identified him as Mohammed Ali Hamadei. He was halted Thursday on the Greek isle of Myknonos during a passport check for cruise ship passengers en route to Turkey.
Hamadei was convicted in 1989 for his involvement in the 1985 commandeering of TWA Flight 847, in which passenger Robert Stethem, an American Navy diver, was fatally shot and his corpse callously tossed onto the tarmac at Beirut’s airport.
Flight 847 from Cairo to San Diego — with stops in Athens, Rome, Boston and Los Angeles — was forced to land in Beirut.
The 153 crew members and passengers were beaten and bound by their assailants, who were demanding the release of hundreds of Lebanese Shiite detainees in Israeli custody.
When the skyjackers’ demands weren’t met, Stethem was was shot point-blank in the head.
The hijackers then gradually released the other abductees in stages over a 2½-week span.
The suspect is currently holed up in a high-security prison in Greece until German officials identify him, according to Reuters.
The man is also sought in connection to a 1987 kidnapping, which could be related to his release in exchange for two German citizens held hostage in Lebanon, a source told Reuters.
According to the FBI, at least four people were involved in the hijacking, and Germany convicted Hamadei of murder, hijacking, assault and hostage-taking in 1989. He was sentenced to life in person, but was released in 2005, when he reportedly returned to Beirut. Even after his release, he was considered a fugitive by the U.S. government
Hamadei was arrested in 1987 at a Frankfurt airport, caught red-handed toting explosives in his luggage, according to FBI.gov.
The 1986 film “The Delta Force” is based on the TWA hijacking.
The thriller, starring Chuck Norris, Lee Marvin and George Kennedy, grossed over $17 million at U.S. box offices, according to The Numbers.
With News Wire Services