A man who said he was wearing an explosive belt hijacked an EgyptAir flight on Tuesday, but authorities in Cyprus arrested him after a seven-hour standoff with no reported injuries or casualties.
EgyptAir Flight 181, an Airbus A320-200, was traveling from Alexandria to Cairo but was forced to land in Larnaca, Cyprus. The hijacker, who said he wanted a letter delivered to his ex-wife in Cyprus, initially released most of the 56 passengers but kept three passengers and five crew members on board.
Egyptian authorities said that there was no confirmation that the hijacker had been wearing a suicide belt.
Our flight MS181 is officially hijacked. we'll publish an official statement now. #Egyptair— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) March 29, 2016
Official sources at EGYPTAIR declared the release of all the hostages and the arrest of the hijacker. #EgyptAir— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) March 29, 2016
The airline is sending a plane from Cairo to Larnaca to return the freed passengers to Egypt, it said on Twitter.
While the hijacking did not turn out to be a terrorist act, Egyptian authorities have been on alert ever since the Islamic State bombed a Russian airliner taking off from Egypt on Oct. 31, killing 224 people.
Photo via EgyptAir/Facebook