TWA Flight 847 hijacking suspect arrested by Greek police

Credit: Alain Nogues/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Credit: Alain Nogues/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Officials say an arrest has been made in the 1984 hijacking of Trans World Airlines Flight 847.

CNN reported that Greek police said a suspect was stopped Thursday during a routine security check. His description matched those on a German warrant for his arrest, which was for a 1987 kidnapping.

The Associated Press reported he was arrested on the Greek island of Mykonos.

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On June 14, 1985, TWA Flight 847 took off from Cairo to San Diego. Planned en route stops included Athens, Rome, Boston and Los Angeles, but it was hijacked soon after takeoff from Athens.

The hijackers attacked U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, beating him unconscious before they shot and killed him, the AP reportedCNN reported the terrorists dumped his body onto the tarmac in Beirut, which was captured by TV cameras and photographers.

The other 146 passengers on the plane were held as hostages and some of them were beaten, CNN reported. Over 17 days, the terrorists, who CNN reported were militants with possible links to Hezbollah, released them in stages. The AP reported the last hostage was released on day 17.

"The suspect denies any involvement in the hijacking," police spokesman Theodoros Chronopoulos told CNN. "He has been remanded in custody on the island of Syros and is to be transferred to a high security prison in Athens."

Officials with Lebanon's Foreign Ministry identified the suspect as a Lebanese journalist named Mohammed Saleh, according to the AP. However, the news wire reported multiple Greek outlets identified the detainee as Mohammed Ali Hammadi, 65, an alleged Hezbollah member.

Hammadi was arrested in Frankfurt in 1987 and convicted in Germany for the hijacking and Stethem's death, the AP reported. He was sentenced to life in prison but paroled in 2005. He went back to Lebanon upon getting parole.

"Germany had resisted pressure to extradite him to the United States after Hezbollah abducted two German citizens in Beirut and threatened to kill them," the AP reported.

Hammadi and another hijacker in the incident, Hasan Izz-Al-Din, and accomplice Ali Atwa are on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists to this day, the outlet reported.

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