The Hijacker has just been arrested in Larnaca
The Egyptian man who hijacked an Egyptair flight on Tuesday that ended up in Larnaca, had demanded towards the end of the seven-hour ordeal that the plane be refueled and travel on to Istanbul.
Foreign Minister Ioanns Kasoulides who headed up a ministerial crisis team during the hijacking, said once most of the passengers left the plane and he was told his demands would not be met, he made the threat to blow up the plane. On board at the time were the crew and two British passengers. The minister described it as a “dangerous complication near the end”.
Kasoulides said that when the crew began leaving through the cockpit window “he realised there was no chance for his demands to be met he allowed the last to British passengers to leave,” said Kasoulides, adding that the hijacker tried to run once he got off the plane but was arrested.
A search of the plane found no explosives and the hijacker’s fake suicide belt was filled with mobile phone covers to give the impression they were explosives.
Kasoulides said the man’s motives did not appear logical.
“On the one hand he wanted to deliver the letter to his ex wife and then he started demanding things from representatives of the EU that had no logic,” he said.
He did ask for the release of women from prison in Egypt but Kasoulides said he was rambling because he made the demand and then dropped it and put forward another. “His demands were neither logical nor coherent,” Kasoulides said. As regards the letter he said there was no coherency there either.
The hijacker surrendered at 14.40 after a seven-hour stand-off with Cypriot authorities.
“The hijacker has just been arrested,” Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides tweeted.
The aircraft was checked over by police. Authorities have determined that the belt worn by the Egyptian man did not contain explosives, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.
“Security in Cyprus confirmed that the explosive belt worn by the man who hijacked the plane was fake,” it said.
Reuters reported that Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the man who hijacked the EgyptAir plane and diverted it to Cyprus was an Egyptian national who had asked to meet European Union officials or to fly on to another airport.
Ismail told reporters that authorities would question the hijacker to ascertain his true motives, which remained a mystery.
Source: Cyprus Mail