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Greek police arrest hijacker 30 years after attack

Police on the Greek island of Mykonos have arrested a 65-year-old man with a Lebanese passport. The man as possible involved with a hijacking that took place more than 30 years ago.

The attack started on June 14th, 1985. The aircraft had just taken off from the airport in Athens when it was hijacked by two passengers. The hijackers had managed to bring a pistol and 2 grenades on board of the flight. The plane had originally left from Cairo and was heading to San Diego. It was supposed to make stops in Athens, Rome, Boston and Los Angeles.

Eventually, the hijacking would last two weeks. During that period the aircraft flew from Beirut to Algiers and back. During some of these stops a number of passengers would be allowed to leave. In exchange, the hijackers would then receive fuel.

There were a number of army staff on board of the plane, including several Americans. All of them were psychically abused consistently during the entire period that the hijacking toke place. One of them was eventually murdered. All Jewish passengers, or those with Jewish sounding names, were separated from all other passengers.

What did the hijackers want?

The primary demand of the hijackers was that 700 Muslims would be released from Israeli prisons. Israel principally refused to do this. During the hijacking a few hundred Muslims were released but Israel has always declared that this had nothing to do with the hijacking. Later other demands were also released, demanding, amongst other things, that the United States and Israel be internationally condemned.

The hijackers are presumed to have been members of the Hezbollah militant organization, based in Lebanon. During the period that the hijacking took place, there was a civil war taking place in the country.