Cairo, March 29: An Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir flight to Cyprus was arrested on Tuesday, March 29, after hours of negotiations during which most passengers were freed and the last of the seven on board escaped.
The Cyprus foreign ministry announced the arrest of the hijacker, who had taken charge of the Airbus 320 when it was on its way from Alexandria to Cairo saying he was armed with explosives. The plane was flown to Larnaca in southern Cyprus.
Here are the Live Updates:
6.00 pm: Video shows alleged EgyptAir hijacker in custody.
صرح مصدر مسئول بمصر للطيران أنه تم الأفراج عن جميع الرهائن والقبض على المختطف، هذا وسوف نوافيكم بآخر المستجدات أول بأول...Posted by EGYPTAIR on Tuesday, 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
5.24 pm: Egypt Air hijacker arrested, situation is over, Greek Cypriot FM says.
Three uniformed people also seen running out of EgyptAir plane https://t.co/feQh2NjXBB— SBS News (@SBSNews) March 29, 2016
5.05 pm: Hijacker identified as Egypt's Seif Eldin Mustafa.
5.00 pm: At least four more people leave hijacked EgyptAir plane, as per AFP.
4.55 pm: The concerned departments are working on issuing the landing authorization for an aircraft to depart from Cairo Airport to Larnaca, EgyptAir tweets.
4.40 pm: Eygptian state media had earlier identified the hijacker as one Ibrahim Samaha, but now a new suspect has been named.
This is according to the available information at this time.— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) March 29, 2016
4.15 pm: The Minister of Civil Aviation has declared in a statement during the press conference held today at the Ministry headquarter that an aircraft is heading from Cairo Airport at 12:30 CLT to Larnaca for the return of the passenger.
4.00 pm: An EgyptAir official declared that 3 passengers, the pilot, co-pilot and 3 cabin crew members in addition to the hijacker are still onboard.
Press Release Cairo 29 March 2016An EGYPTAIR official declared that 3 foreign passengers, the pilot, co-pilot and 2...Posted by EGYPTAIR onTuesday, March 29, 2016
3.43 pm: Egyptian hijacker releases all foreign passengers, only four crew members being held hostage at Larnaca.
3.02 pm: 'Don't trust reports. Can't be overwhelmed by journalistic instincts. Lets do our duty', says Egypt govt.
2.48 pm: Ex-wife of EgyptAir hijacker summoned to Larnaca Airport to take part in negotiations.
2.35 pm: EgyptAir hijacker is an Egyptian-American dual citizen named Ibrahim Samaha, Egyptian official says.
2.12 pm: Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades says Egypt plane hijacking not related to "terrorism": Reports.
2.04 pm: EgyptAir hijacker demands to see estranged Cypriot wife: govt official.
1.54 pm: EgyptAir hijacker wants letter delivered to ex-wife, say Cyprus broadcasting.
Emergency Call Center— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) March 29, 2016
Within Egypt 0800 77 77 000
International +2 02 25989320-29
1.47 pm: Cyprus closes Larnaca airport after hijacking, flights diverted to Paphos
1.40 pm: EgyptAir hijacker demands political asylum in Cyprus.
1.23 pm: One of the hijacker of EgyptAir plane has been identified as Ibrahim Samaha: Egyptian Media.
1.19 pm: Delhi's IGI and Mumbai Airport on high alert, but no specific alert sounded in the wake of EgyptAir hijack: Reports.
1.10 pm: Negotiations with hijacker resulted in the release of all the passengers of the Egypt plane except cabin crew and 5 foreigners: EgyptAir.
1.02 pm: No reports so far of any Indian onboard the hijacked EgyptAir.
12.54 pm: All the passengers released, except cabin crew and 5 foreigners, after negotiations with hijacker tweets EgyptAir.
Negotiations with the kidnapped result in the release of all the passengers, except the crew and four foreigners.— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) March 29, 2016
12.52 pm: Cyprus foreign ministry Secretary General says hijacker has indicated intention to free a certain number of passengers.
12.47 pm: 20 people have been released from hijacked EgyptAir flight MS181 at Larnaca Airport, reports Cypriot state media.
12.40 pm: Cyprus officials say Egypt plane hijackers allow women, children to leave and some were seen disembarking the flight.
There are 81 passengers believed to be onboard the flight including 7 crew members. According to AFP, the hijackers contacted control tower at 8:30 am (GMT) and plane was given permission to land at 8:50 am.
EgyptAir confirmed the hijacking on its Twitter account: "Our flight MS181 is officially hijacked. We'll publish an official statement now."
Our flight MS181 is officially hijacked. we'll publish an official statement now. #Egyptair— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) March 29, 2016
According to latest report, pilot of hijacked EgyptAir plane was threatened by a passenger with suicide belt.
An emergency has been declared at the Cyprus airport. The hijackers made no immediate demands and a crisis team has been deployed to the airport. Negotiations with the hijackers will begin soon.