Egypt, Cairo: Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said Yesterday, a hijacker who seized an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land in Cyprus has been detained. Christodoulides said on Twitter, without providing further details, “The hijacker has just been arrested”.
An EgyptAir passenger plane flying from Cairo to Alexandria was hijacked Yesterday and diverted to Cyprus, where it landed at Larnaca airport on the south coast, Cypriot police and Egyptian civil aviation authority officials said. The suspected hijacker surrendered to authorities at Larnaca airport in Cyprus on Tuesday, Cypriot authorities said.
A man emerged from the aircraft and then walked across the tarmac with his hands up to two awaiting counter-terrorism police officers, an AFP correspondent reported. They laid him on the ground and searched him for around two minutes before taking him away. “Its over,” Cyprus’s foreign ministry said in a tweet.
Egyptian civil aviation ministry said 81 passengers were on board flight MS181, while EgyptAir in a statement said there were 55. The reason for the discrepancy was unclear. Larnaca airport was closed and a crisis team deployed to the site, airport officials said. A civil aviation ministry statement said the hijacker, who was strapped with explosives, forced the pilot to divert the plane to Larnaca. An Egyptian government spokesman said the hijacker initially wanted to go to Istanbul but was told by the captain that he did not have enough fuel for the journey. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades while addressing a joint press conference said the plane hijacking was not related to terrorism.