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EgyptAir Hijacker Arrested But His Motives Remain a Mystery

The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation reported that 55 people were on board, with a crew of 7.

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A policeman stands guard at Larnaca Airport near a hijacked EgyptAir A320 on Tuesday, 29 March  2016. (Photo: Reuters)
Snapshot
  • An EgyptAir domestic flight MS 181 from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked on Tuesday and diverted to Cyprus.
  • Hijacker identified as Seif el Din Mustafa, has been arrested.
  • Pilot was threatened with a suicide bomb belt.
  • EgyptAir says it was an Airbus 320 aircraft carrying 81 passengers.
  • Cyprus President says hijacking not related to “terrorism”.
  • EgyptAir hijacker had demanded for women prisoners to be freed.
7:00 PM , 29 Mar

Hijacker’s Suicide Bomb Belt Was Fake: Aviation Ministry

Cypriot authorities have determined that the belt worn by an Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir plane on Tuesday did not contain explosives, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.

“Security in Cyprus confirmed that the explosive belt worn by the man who hijacked the plane was fake,” it said.

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5:24 PM , 29 Mar

Hijacker Surrenders

The suspected hijacker of an EgyptAir airliner surrendered to authorities at Larnaca airport in Cyprus, Cypriot authorities said.

The hijacker emerged from the aircraft with his hands in the air, state TV said.

“It’s over,” Cyprus’s foreign ministry said in a tweet.

What we have clarified is that it is not about terrorism. It appears to be a person who is unstable, in an unstable psychological state and the issue is being handled accordingly. 
Alexandros Zenon, Cyprus Foreign Ministry Official

The development was reported after at least three more people were seen leaving the aircraft, an Airbus 320.

3:33 PM , 29 Mar

Atleast three other people have left the EgyptAir aircraft hijacked this morning. Cypriot state media has reported that the man who hijacked the plane said was demanding the release of women prisoners in Egypt.

After the aircraft landed at Larnaca airport, the hijacker released everyone onboard except three passengers and four crew following negotiations, Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said.

He declined to give their nationalities.

Meanwhile, Cairo airport has delayed the departure of a New York-bound airplane due to security fears, said two security officials.

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3:26 PM , 29 Mar

Hijacker Misidentified

Media reports have confirmed that the name of the hijacker is Seif el Din Mustafa and not Ibrahim Samaha, as reports claimed earlier.

He still has four crew members and three passengers captive. A photographer from Libya has tweeted a picture of the person.


Published: 29 Mar 2016, 12:13 PM IST
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