An Egyptair commercial carrying 55 passengers and seven crew members was hijacked on Tuesday morning. Egyptian television identified the hijacker as Ibrahim Samaha, an Egyptian national.
The hijacker threatened to detonate an explosives belt before demanding the the pilot land in Larnaca, according to Egypt’s civil aviation authority, although authorities in Cyprus have since said that no explosives were found on board.
Following the plane’s emergency landing in Larnaca, all passengers exceot for four foreigners were released as a result of negotations, with the crew also remaining onboard.
A further five people were released later on, apparently wearing crew uniforms, according to AFP. It was soon announced that all hostages had been removed from the plane.
The president of Cyprus announced that terrorism was not behind the hijacking. Samaha was reportedly trying to send a message to his ex-wife who lives in Cyprus.
Some reports alleged that the man’s ex-wife had arrived at the airport in order to assist with the negotations, after Samaha apparently demanded that a letter be delivered to her.
In response to the news of Samaha’s motives, the Egyptian foreign ministry said that the hijacker was not a terrorist but “an idiot.”
According to Egypt’s aviation ministry, the flight was carrying 21 foreign nationals, including eight Americans.
According to local media, the hijackers have not made any immediate demands. A crisis team has reportedly been dispatched to the scene by Cypriot authorities.
Israeli air force jets reportedly scrambled to ensure that the plane did not enter Israeli airspace, according to Channel 2.
The plane, flight MS181, was traveling from Alexandria to Cairo, the Egyptair spokesperson said.
In October last year, a Russian plane with 224 people on board crashed in a mountainous part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The alleged cause of the crash was a bomb on board, following lax Egyptian airport security.
On November 23, 1985, an EgyptAir flight was hijacked by Palestinian militants and forced to land in Malta. The resulting standoff and raid by Egyptian commandos left 62 people dead.
The post Ex-wife of Egyptair hijacker arrives at airport for negotiations appeared first on Aphroden.com.