LARNACA, Cyprus/ CAIRO, March 29( Reuters) – An EgyptAir plane winging from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to country in Cyprus on Tuesday by a boy with what powers read was a fake suicide loop, who was arrested after passing himself up.
The passengers and gangs were unharmed. Eighty-one beings, including 21 foreign nationals and 15 gang, were on board the Airbus 320, Egypt‘s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.
Conflicting assumptions developed about the motives of the hijacker, an Egyptian. A senior Cypriot official said he seemed unstable and the accident did not appear relevant to terrorism. The Cypriot state broadcaster said he had asked the liberate of women captives in Egypt.
In the midst of the hijack, evidences said he shed a note 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 territory at Larnaca, negotiations inaugurated and everyone on board was free-spoken except three passengers and four gang, Egypt‘s Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fethy said.
Soon subsequentlies, Cypriot television footage demo several people leaving the plane via the stairs and another man clambering out of the cockpit window and flowing off.
The hijacker then surrendered to authorities.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said the hijacker had threatened to jolt himself up and necessitated that the aircraft be refueled and psyche to Istanbul.
“It looks like he recognized his expects would not be met, allowing the last two hostages, Britons, to flee the aircraft. He also tried to leave, running out. He was detained, ” answered 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 discover his motivatings. “At some moments he asked to meet with a representative of the European Union and at other points he asked to go to another airfield but there was nothing specific, ” he said.
Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said the pilot, Omar al-Gammal, had told permissions that he was threatened by air passengers who claimed to be wearing an explosive belt and forced him to divert the plane to Larnaca.
Reached by telephone, Gammal told Reuters that the hijacker seemed “abnormal.” Sounding wearied, he said he had been obliged to treat the man as a serious insurance threat.
Photographs on Egyptian country video depicted a middle-aged guy on an aircraft wearing glasses and displaying a lily-white loop with projection pockets and protruding wires.
Television canals proved video footage of the hijacker, identified as Seif Eldin Mustafa, 59, being searched by protection humanities at a metal detector at Borg al-Arab airfield in Alexandria.
Interior Ministry officials said he was removed from statute institution and had a long criminal record, including robberies.
Fethy, the Egyptian minister, pronounced powers suspected the suicide belt was not genuine but treated the incident as serious to ensure the safety of all those on board.
“We cannot say this was a terrorist act … “hes not” health professionals, ” Fethy told reporters after the incident.
EgyptAir retarded a New York-bound flight from Cairo onto which some fares of the hijacked airliner had been due to connect. Fethy said it was delayed partly due to a technical issue but partly as a precaution.
The hijacked aircraft remained on the tarmac at Larnaca throughout the morning while Cypriot security force took up standings around the scene.
The incident will treat another punch to Egypt’s tourism industry and hurt efforts to revive an economy hammered by political unease following the 2011 insurgency that toppled veteran ruler Hosni Mubarak.
The sector, a main beginning of hard currency for the import-dependent district, was already reeling from the crash of a Russian passenger aircraft in the Sinai peninsula in late October.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said the Russian plane was returned down by a terrorist attack. Islamic State has said it planted a bomb on board, killing all 224 parties on board.
The latest incident heightened renewed doubts over airport defence, though it was not clear whether the hijacker was even armed. Ismail remarked stringent measures were in place.
Passengers on the plane included eight Americans, four Britons, four Dutch, two Belgians, an Italian, a Syrian and a French national, the Civil Aviation Ministry said.
Cyprus has heard little militant activity for decades, despite its proximity to the Middle East.
A botched endeavor by Egyptian commandos to storm a hijacked aircraft at Larnaca airport led to the disturbance of diplomatic ties between Cyprus and Egypt in 1978.
In 1988, a Kuwaiti airliner which had been hijacked from Bangkok to Kuwait in a 16 -day siege had a layover in Larnaca, where two hostages were killed.
( Additional reporting by Michele Kambas in Athens and Mostafa Hashem, Ahmed Mohammed Hassan, Amina Ismail and Lin Noueihed in Cairo, Writing by Lin Noueihed, Editing by Michael Georgy and Mark Trevelyan)