EgyptAir plane hijacked: passengers getting freed at Larnaca airport

EgyptAir plane hijacked: passengers getting freed at Larnaca airport

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EgyptAir Flight MS181, flying from Alexandria to Cairo, was taken over and diverted to Larnaca, Cyprus, where it has now landed, after a passenger told the pilot he was wearing an explosives belt.

81 passengers were on the flight, including 8 Americans, 4 Britons, 4 Dutch, 2 Belgians, one Italian, and 30 Egyptians. BBC News reports that EgyptAir said negotiations taking place at Larnaca airport have resulted in the release of all those on board, apart from the crew and four foreign passengers.

The latest reports from the Cypriot media suggest that the one hijacker was motivated by personal reasons, namely his ex-wife is said to live in Cyprus and he was seeking asylum. However, the information has not yet been confirmed.

For the moment, Larnaca airport has been closed and scheduled flights were diverted elsewhere.

This is the second major incident in Egyptian aviation in less than a year. Last October, a Russian plane crashed minutes after it took off from the Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport. 217 passengers and seven crew members were killed, and Islamic State-affiliated militants claimed responsibility for the crash. However, official investigations are yet to publish findings.