LARNACA – An EgyptAir plane flying from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to land in Cyprus on Tuesday by a man with what officials said was a fake suicide belt, who was arrested after surrendering himself.
The passengers and crew were unharmed. Eighty-one passengers, including 21 foreigners and 15 crew, were onboard the Airbus 320, Egypt`s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.
Conflicting theories emerged about the motives of the hijacker, an Egyptian. A senior Cypriot official said he seemed unstable and the incident did not appear related to terrorism. The Cypriot state broadcaster said he had demanded the release of women prisoners in Egypt.
In the midst of the hijack, witnesses said he threw a letter on the apron at Cyprus`s Larnaca airport, written in Arabic, and asked that it be delivered to his Cypriot ex-wife.
After the aircraft landed at Larnaca, negotiations began and everyone on board was freed except three passengers and four crew, Egypt`s Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fethy said.
Soon afterwards, Cypriot television footage showed several people leaving the plane via the stairs and another man climbing out of the cockpit window and running off.
The hijacker then surrendered to authorities.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said the hijacker had threatened to blow himself up and demanded that the aircraft be refueled and head to Istanbul.
“It looks like he realized his demands would not be met, allowing the last two hostages, Britons, to flee the aircraft. He also tried to leave, running out. He was arrested,” said Kasoulides.
“The explosives on him were examined. They weren’t explosives, but mobile phone covers.”
Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the hijacker would be questioned to ascertain his motives. “At some moments he asked to meet with a representative of the European Union and at other points he asked to go to another airport but there was nothing specific,” he said.
PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team
KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.
PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.
Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.