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Suspected Lebanese hijacker arrested in Greece: police

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A Lebanese woman cleaning slogans written by the hijackers

A Lebanese woman cleaning slogans written by the hijackers (AFP Photo/MOHAMMED ATTAR)

Athens (AFP) - 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.

The plane was travelling from Cairo to San Diego with stops in Athens, Rome, Boston, and Los Angeles. It was hijacked after it took off from Athens.

Over a horrific 17 days, TWA pilot John Testrake was 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.

On June 15, 1985 during the first stop in Beirut, 23-year-old US navy diver Robert Stethem was severely beaten, shot point blank in the head and thrown onto the tarmac of Beirut airport.

According to Athens News Agency, the man was 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.

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.