World Middle East 29 Mar 2016 EgyptAir hijack: Hos ...

EgyptAir hijack: Hostage taker's suicide belt was fake

AFP / REUTERS
Published Mar 29, 2016, 8:34 pm IST
Updated Mar 29, 2016, 8:38 pm IST
The hijacker had demanded to see a Cypriot woman, his estranged lover who lives on the island.
The EgyptAir plane landed at the airport in the southern coastal city of Larnaca at 8:50 am (1120 IST), after the hijacker had contacted the control tower 20 minutes earlier to demand the diversion. (Photo: AP)
 The EgyptAir plane landed at the airport in the southern coastal city of Larnaca at 8:50 am (1120 IST), after the hijacker had contacted the control tower 20 minutes earlier to demand the diversion. (Photo: AP)

Cairo: 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.

The hijacker has been arrested and all the hostages have been safely evacuated.

 

Read: All we know of Ibrahim Samaha, the professor who hijacked EgyptAir

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

The hijacker had seized an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land in Cyprus on Tuesday, but nearly all of the passengers were quickly released and officials said the incident was not linked to terrorism.

A government source said that the hijacker had demanded to see a Cypriot woman, his estranged lover who lives on the island.

Read: EgyptAir hijack: A timeline of how events unfolded

The EgyptAir plane had landed at the airport in the southern coastal city of Larnaca at 8:50 am (1120 IST), after the hijacker had contacted the control tower 20 minutes earlier to demand the diversion.

Egyptian civil aviation said he had threatened to detonate an explosives belt on the Airbus A-320, which had been headed from the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria to Cairo.

The plane had been carrying 21 foreigners including eight Americans, four Dutch citizens, four Britons and a French citizen, an Egyptian civil aviation ministry statement said.

Read: Egypt hijack: There's always a woman, says Cyprus Prez on plane attack

Asked about reports that the hijacker had demanded to see a Cypriot woman, Anastasiades said: "Always there is a woman."

Cyprus's Sigma television reported that the woman had been brought to the airport from her home village of Oroklini, accompanied by a young child.

Cyprus state radio had earlier reported that the man was demanding asylum and had asked for a translator. A crisis team was deployed to the airport, the main entry point for tourists to the Mediterranean resort island.

Larnaca is no stranger to hostage crises. Several hijacked planes were diverted to the airport in the last few decades.

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