<!--[if IE]><![endif]-->
Europe
Europe

TWA Flight 847: Greek police arrest aircraft hijacking suspect

  • 21 September 2019
TWA Flight 847 out of Athens to Rome has been hijacked Image copyright Alain Nogues/Getty Image caption The flight was hijacked right after taking off from Athens

A 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the hijacking of an American airliner in 1985 has been arrested in Greece, police say.

The man, who has not been named, was detained on Mykonos after disembarking from a cruise ship on Thursday.

His identity came up as being wanted by Germany during a passport check.

The TWA Flight 847 was seized by militants thought to belong to the Islamist group Hezbollah, a claim they denied. A US navy diver was killed.

The man was wanted by German authorities for the hijacking as well as a kidnapping committed in 1987.

He is currently being held in a high-security prison in Greece until German officials identify him as the person wanted, Reuters news agency reports.

Two years after the hijacking, the suspect was reportedly arrested and tried in Germany and later exchanged with two Germans who had been abducted in Beirut.

Image copyright Joel Robine/Getty Image caption The plane was forced to land in Beirut

The Trans World Airlines flight from Cairo to San Diego with stops in Athens, Rome, Boston and Los Angeles was hijacked on 14 June 1985 after taking off from Athens, and forced to land in Beirut.

The plane's 153 passengers and crew members were held hostage, some for 17 days. A number were tied and beaten by the hijackers, who demanded the release of hundreds of Lebanese Shia detainees in Israeli custody.

When the prisoners were not released, 23-year-old US Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem, who was one of the hostages, was shot dead and his body was thrown onto the tarmac at Beirut airport.

The hijackers then began to release their hostages.

According to the FBI, at least four people were involved in the hijacking. Mohammed Ali Hamadei was arrested in Germany in 1987 and, after his release in 2005, returned to Beirut.

Imad Mughniyeh was killed in a 2008 bombing in Damascus, while Hassan Izz-Al-Din and Ali Atwa have remained at large.

The 1986 film The Delta Force is based on the hijacking.

Related Topics

Top Stories

Cummings: I don't regret what I did

The PM's top aide says he "behaved reasonably" as he explains why he drove to Co Durham during lockdown.

25 May 2020
Non-essential shops to reopen from 15 June - PM
25 May 2020
Branson space rocket fails on debut flight
25 May 2020

Features

'We all became heroes but they've already forgotten us'

Video

Elephants flee to survive coronavirus starvation

Call for clear face masks to be 'the norm'

What are the lockdown rules for caring for children?

Cummings' actions 'insulting to families like mine'

Who is Dominic Cummings?

Video

The unexpected benefits of lockdown in a tiny village

The boat that disappeared

Fancy a pint? Five ways Europe is easing lockdown

Elsewhere on the BBC