Ali Atwa, a senior Hezbollah operative who was on the FBI’s most-wanted list for his role in a much-publicized plane hijacking back in 1985, has died, the Lebanese terror group said Saturday.

According to reports released by Hezbollah, the terrorist, reportedly in his 60s died from complications after a long battle with cancer. 

Atwa was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 2001 with two other terrorists of the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847. The hijacking, which began in Athens, Greece, on June 14, lasted 16 days and took the plane between Beirut and Algiers.

Of the 147 people on board, 85 were American citizens, including several members of the crew including pilot John Testrake. While stopped in Beirut, the terrorists singled out U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem and murdered him.

The hijackers demanded the release of more than 700 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons. 

Flight 847 originated in Cairo on the morning of June 14 en route to San Diego with stops planned in Athens, Rome, Boston, and Los Angeles. After landing in Athens, a new crew boarded Flight 847. 

Lebanese Hezbollah hijacker during the 1985 incident with TWA 847. (AP)

At 10:10, Flight 847 departed Athens for Rome. It was hijacked shortly after takeoff by two Arabic-speaking Lebanese men who had smuggled a pistol and two grenades through the Athens airport security. One was later identified as Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a Hezbollah terrorist who was eventually captured and sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany. He was paroled in 2005. Germany denied a U.S. request to extradite Hamadi after Hezbollah kidnapped two German citizens in Beirut and threatened to kill them if Hamadi was turned over to the Americans.

Ali Atwa was supposed to board the flight in Athens but was bumped off due to overbooking. After making violent threats to the TWA gate agent he was arrested by Greek authorities. He was later released by the Greek government and rejoined the hijackers in Algiers, in return for the release of seven Greek hostages including pop singer Demis Roussos.