Terrorist Ali Hamadi Rejoins Hezbollah Following Release From Prison

WASHINGTON — One of the most infamous terrorists of the 1980s has rejoined Hezbollah following his release from a German prison and deportation to his native Lebanon in December 2005, a senior Bush administration official told FOX News.

Mohammed Ali Hamadi was released despite strong U.S. objections, FOX News learned. Those objections were raised in phone calls to German authorities by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller, as well as by top-level State Department and administration counter-terrorism officials.

“[The Germans] ignored us and didn’t give us enough time to pursue it through legal action,” an official told FOX News on the condition of anonymity. “They gave us very short notice.”

U.S. officials said they “can’t rule out” the possibility that Germany deported Hamadi, after he had served 19 years of a life sentence, in exchange for the release of Susanne Osthoff, a German archeologist taken hostage in Iraq and freed four days after Hamadi’s deportation. German authorities have denied any such deal was made.

In June 1985, Hamadi was one of four Islamic militants who commandeered TWA Flight 847 — en route from Athens to Rome — and hijacked it to Beirut. The ensuing hostage ordeal lasted 17 days, with the plane shuttling among various Mediterranean airports.

On the second day of the hijacking, Hamadi and his accomplices learned that U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem was on board. Hamadi and his co-conspirators beat Stethem unconscious, then shot him to death and dumped his body on the tarmac of the Beirut airport. The hijackers later escaped.

In 1987, Hamadi was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany, for carrying explosives in his bag at the airport. He was convicted both on that charge and of Stethem’s murder and sentenced to life in prison. Late last year he was paroled by the German authorities and deported to Lebanon.

The US Navy officially commissioned the 13th Arleigh Burke destroyer USS Stethem on 21 October 1995 in Petty Officer Stetham’s honor.

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