The hijackers attacked U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, beating him unconscious before they shot and killed him, the AP reported. CNN reported the terrorists dumped his body onto the tarmac in Beirut, which was captured by TV cameras and photographers.
The other 146 passengers on the plane were held as hostages and some of them were beaten, CNN reported. Over 17 days, the terrorists, who CNN reported were militants with possible links to Hezbollah, released them in stages. The AP reported the last hostage was released on day 17.
"The suspect denies any involvement in the hijacking," police spokesman Theodoros Chronopoulos told CNN. "He has been remanded in custody on the island of Syros and is to be transferred to a high security prison in Athens."
Officials with Lebanon's Foreign Ministry identified the suspect as a Lebanese journalist named Mohammed Saleh, according to the AP. However, the news wire reported multiple Greek outlets identified the detainee as Mohammed Ali Hammadi, 65, an alleged Hezbollah member.
Hammadi was arrested in Frankfurt in 1987 and convicted in Germany for the hijacking and Stethem's death, the AP reported. He was sentenced to life in prison but paroled in 2005. He went back to Lebanon upon getting parole.
"Germany had resisted pressure to extradite him to the United States after Hezbollah abducted two German citizens in Beirut and threatened to kill them," the AP reported.
Hammadi and another hijacker in the incident, Hasan Izz-Al-Din, and accomplice Ali Atwa are on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists to this day, the outlet reported.