‘Party of Allah’ terrorist on FBI Most Wanted List, Mohammed Ali Hamadei, who killed Robert D. Stethem, walked free thanks to Germany, may be the hijacker now in police custody in Greece
Germans made a deal in a hostage swap
Germany had wanted to silently release ‘Party of Allah’ terrorist Mohammed Ali Hamadi a closely guarded secret in 2005, but the Stethem family went to the media and informed the world about the killer walking free.
Hamadi’s had hijacked TWA Flight 847 en route to Rome from Athens on June 14, 1985, and killed U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, 23, of Waldorf. The Stethem family said they had been in constant touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “And we are the ones who went to the Press,” said Patrick Stethem, who joined the Navy the same year his brother was killed.
ATHENS, GREECE. — Greek Police have captured a terrorist responsible for the murder of a Navy diver from Waldorf, Maryland, during the June 14, 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Rome. Lt. Col. Theodoros Chronopoulos, a police spokesman, told The Associated Press the hijacking case involved TWA Flight 847.
Police said a 65-year-old suspect in a 1985 hijacking and a 1987 abduction was arrested Thursday on the island of Mykonos in response to a warrant from Germany. Police would not confirm the name of the terrorist as the investigation was still underway.
Several Greek media outlets named him as Mohammed Ali Hamadei, who was arrested in Frankfurt in 1987 and convicted in Germany for the plane hijacking and Stethem’s slaying. Hammadi, an alleged Hezbollah member, received life in prison as a sentence but was paroled in 2005 and returned to Lebanon.
The terrorist convicted of the slaying of Waldorf resident Robert D. Stethem, a Navy diver on the plane, was set free by Germany in 2005.
A leading U.S. Congressman deplored the Bush administration’s inaction as the German government allowed a convicted terrorist to walk free and fly home to Lebanon.
House Majority Leader Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md. 5th), then the Minority Whip in the House, expressed outrage that Mohammed Ali Hamadei, who was serving a life sentence in Germany for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner and killing of U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem, 23, of Waldorf, Md., was paroled in 2005 after only 19 years.
TWA flight 847 from Athens, Greece, to Rome was hijacked to Beirut, Lebanon, where hijackers beat, shot and killed Petty Officer Stethem. He was the only casualty during the hijacking ordeal, in which 39 Americans were held hostage for 17 days.
The world watched in horror as the Iran-backed terrorists of Hezbollah, which means “Party of Allah” in Arabic, threw Stethem’s body on the tarmac of Beirut Airport in a show of extreme irreverence for human life.
German authorities deny he was released in exchange for German hostage Susanne Osthoff, recently released in Iraq. Under German law ‘life’ in severe cases means on average 22 years served. It is unconstitutional to deny the chance of parole.
Hoyer called the move inexplicable, wondering why the Germans decided to release him.
“Winning the global war on terror requires capturing or killing terrorists whenever and wherever possible, and it should go without saying that those already in custody should remain behind bars,” said Hoyer.
Petty Officer Stethem was killed because he was a United States serviceman. Stethem was 23 years old, a Navy diver returning from a duty station, dressed in civilian clothes, and from Waldorf, Md.
Hamadei and his fellow terrorists bound, gagged, beat unconscious and then shot Petty Officer Stethem in the head after they hijacked the TWA jetliner on June 14, 1985.
Hamadei was arrested by German authorities at Frankfurt Airport in January 1987 when he was trying to enter Germany with bottles of liquid explosives in his luggage.
Hamadi was convicted in May 1989 for Petty Officer Stethem’s savage beating and murder and also of participating in the brutal beatings of two other passengers on the hijacked airplane.
According to the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, Hezbollah is believed responsible for nearly 200 attacks since 1982 that have killed more than 800 people.
The “Party of Allah” is based is in Lebanon’s Shiite-dominated areas, including parts of Beirut, southern Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley. In addition, U.S. intelligence reports say that Hezbollah cells operate in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America.
In 2005, Hoyer expressed sympathies to the Stethem family, who reside in his congressional district, as this episode has undoubtedly conjured up years of pain and suffering. “I urge the Bush Administration to strongly pursue all possible means to keep Hamadi from being released by the government of Lebanon,” Hoyer said.
The suspect terrorist was in custody Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, on the Greek island of Syros but was set to be transferred to the Korydallos high-security prison in Athens for extradition proceedings, a police spokeswoman told The Associated Press.
The U.S. Navy named a destroyer, USS Stethem in the memory of Petty Officer Robert Dean Stethem.
Hammadi, along with fellow hijacker Hasan Izz-Al-Din and accomplice Ali Atwa, remains on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists. The FBI offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to each man’s capture.
WHICH TERRORIST IS THIS IN GREEK JAIL?
The news website Ekathamirini.com reported: In Beirut, the Foreign Ministry said the man detained in Greece is a Lebanese journalist called Mohammed Saleh, and that a Lebanese embassy official planned to try to visit him on Sunday.
However, several Greek media outlets identified the detainee as Mohammed Ali Hammadi, who was arrested in Frankfurt in 1987 and convicted in Germany for the plane hijacking and Stethem’s slaying. Hammadi, an alleged Hezbollah member, was sentenced to life in prison but was paroled in 2005 and returned to Lebanon.
FBI WANTS THIS KILLER AND WILL PAY A $5 MILLION REWARD
The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Mohammed Ali Hamadei.
Hamadei is an alleged member of the terrorist organization, Lebanese Hizballah. He is thought to be in Lebanon.
Mohammed Ali Hamadei was indicted for his role and participation in the June 14, 1985, hijacking of a commercial airliner which resulted in the assault on various passengers and crew members, and the murder of one United States citizen.
MOHAMMED ALI HAMADEI SHOULD BE CONSIDERED
ARMED AND DANGEROUS
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A Tactical Tomahawk Cruise Missile launches from the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) during a live-warhead test. The missile traveled 760 nautical miles to successfully impact it’s intended target on San Clemente Island, part of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) test range in Southern California. (All Hands magazine photo by U.S. Navy January 2004)