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EgyptAir plane hijacking not related to terrorism: Cypriot president

Publish Time 2016-03-29 14:05:00

An Egyptian plane on a flight between Alexandria and Cairo was hijacked and forced to land in Cyprus by a man apparently distressed over a family matter.

Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister has said seven people including three passengers remained on board an EgyptAir plane that was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus on Tuesday.

The hijacker had not made any concrete demands so far, said Sherif Fathy, who declined to give the nationalities of the passengers still on the plane.

He declined to identify the hijacker. Egyptian state TV had earlier named a passenger as the hijacker but his colleague later told Reuters he was one of the victims.

Egypt is sending a plane to Cyprus to pick up stranded passengers, some of whom had been traveling from Alexandria to Cairo for connecting flights abroad.

After the EgyptAir plane landed at Larnaca airport, the hijacker released all the people onboard except four foreign passengers and the crew following negotiations, EgyptAir said.

About 60 people, including seven crew, had been onboard the Airbus 320, Egyptian and Cypriot officials said.

The pilot reported that the man was strapped with explosives, although this was not confirmed.

Citing security sources, Cypriot state media said that the motives of the hijacker appeared personal and he had asked to contact his ex-wife, who lives in Cyprus.

"It is not something which has to do with terrorism," Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters. Asked if a woman was involved he said: "There is always a woman involved."


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