Authorities arrest EgyptAir hijacker after seven-hour standoff

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.

EgyptAir provided regular updates during the standoff through Twitter and Facebook.

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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

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.