Greek authorities arrest suspect in connection to 1985 hijacking of TWA flight

FAN Editor

A 65-year-old man linked to the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines flight, an attack during which a U.S. Navy diver was killed, has been arrested in Greece.

Hamadei Saleh Mohammed Ali, a Lebanese citizen, was apprehended on Thursday during a routine passport check in Mykonos, the last stop in Greece before traveling to Turkey on a cruise ship, an official with the Greek Ministry of the Interior told ABC News.

After the arrest, which came in response to a warrant issued by Germany, the suspect was transferred to Syros and taken to Korydallos high-security prison in Athens, the official said.

The suspect, whose fingerprints have been sent to Germany for further examination, denied that he was involved in the hijacking of TWA Flight 847, which was overtaken shortly after leaving Athens on June 14, 1985.

The flight, which originated in Cairo, had a final destination of San Diego after making stops in Athens, Rome, Boston and Los Angeles, according to The Associated Press.

The Navy diver, Robert Stethem, 23, was beaten unconscious and later shot to death by the hijackers, who eventually released the other 146 passengers and crew members. After stops in Beirut and Algiers, the last hostage was freed after 17 days, according to the AP.

Earlier AP reports, citing Greek media, said the detainee’s name was Mohammed Ali Hammadi, who was arrested in Frankfurt in 1987 and convicted of the hijacking and Stethem’s murder. Hammadi received a life sentence but was paroled in 2005 and returned to Lebanon.

In Beirut, according to the AP, the Foreign Ministry said the detainee is a Lebanese journalist by the name of Mohammed Saleh, and that a Lebanese embassy official would attempt to see him on Sunday.

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