Ali Atwi, a Lebanese “Hezbollah” member accused of participating in the hijacking of TWA 847 flight in 1985, has died.
The United States accuses him of being involved in the hijacking of the 17-day flight, which killed an American soldier, a family member told Agence France-Presse yesterday.
The source said Atwi died of cancer, without revealing where he had been hiding in recent years. “Hezbollah” mourned Atwi, describing him as “the dead of the resistance”. And he announced the acceptance of condolences for his death, today Saturday, to be buried in the southern suburbs of Beirut.
The United States had previously offered a reward of up to $ 5 million in exchange for providing information on Atwi, who was accused of “conspiracy to commit acts of air piracy and kidnapping. hostages… obstructing the work of an aircrew in flight and placing an explosive device in an aircraft. On June 14, 1985, the longest hijacking operation in aviation history began for TWA flight 847. When it took off from Athens airport for Rome, two Lebanese who then took off revealed to belong to “Hezbollah”, Muhammad Ali Hamadeh and Hassan Ezzedine, hijacked the plane, a Boeing-727, and forced it to change course towards Beirut. On board were eight crew members, in addition to 143 passengers, including 85 Americans and the famous Greek singer Demis Roussos.
The hijackers forced the pilot to fly twice from Beirut to Algeria, where a number of hostages were freed. On his first arrival from Algeria, the kidnappers executed Marine Robert Stethem, 24, with a bullet in the head, after beating him and throwing his body on the airport runway, according to the AFP report.
Greek police arrested Atwi at Athens airport before he could board flight 847 and sent him to Algeria. The plane returned for the third time to Beirut, where it remained at the airport while conducting intense negotiations. The leader of the Amal movement and then Minister of Justice, Nabih Berri (currently President of Parliament), took charge and contributed to the transfer of most of the hostages to various places of detention, according to the French agency.
The hostage-free operations were carried out in batches, the last of which took place on June 30 (June).
Hamada, one of the main hijackers, was arrested two years after the operation in Frankfurt for transporting explosives and sentenced to life imprisonment; he was released in 2005 after 19 years in prison in Germany, and is still wanted by the FBI.
Ezz El-Din has yet to be found.