EgyptAir Hijack Live: 'Idiot' hijacker arrested, all hostages released, Cyprus foreign ministry confirms

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EgyptAir Hijack Live: 'Idiot' hijacker arrested, all hostages released, Cyprus foreign ministry confirms
  • 17:33 (IST)

    'He is not a terrorist, he's an idiot'

    The Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the Egypt plane hijacking was not related to “terrorism”.

    The Guardian quoted a foreign ministry official in Cairo as saying: “He's not a terrorist, he's an idiot. Terrorists are crazy but they aren't stupid. This guy is.”

  • 17:27 (IST)

  • 17:26 (IST)

  • 17:26 (IST)

    Hijacker emerges with hands held up

    Reuters, meanwhile, reported that the hijacker was seen emerging from EgyptAir flight MS181. Quoting Cyprus broadcaster, Reuters reported: EgyptAir hijacker emerging from aircraft with hands held up: Cyprus broadcaster

  • 17:24 (IST)

  • 17:18 (IST)

  • 17:16 (IST)

    Al Jazeera reports that all seven hostages have escaped the plane but the hijacker is likely still inside the plane

  • 17:14 (IST)

    One of the four hostages left the plane by climbing out of the cockpit window, while the other three were able to leave by the main door and walk down the steps. 

    Armed police took up positions behind Larnaca airport's largely disused old terminal buildings as the four emerged.


  • 17:04 (IST)

    Out of the seven passengers and crew waiting to be released, AFP reports that at least four more people have left the hijacked EgyptAir plane

  • 16:38 (IST)

    Beach near Larnaca airport evacuated

    Cyprus police have evacuated a stretch of beach near the Larnaca airport tarmac where a hijacked EgyptAir passenger jet is parked.

    The standoff at the airport is continuing with the hijacker and seven passengers and crew remaining on the EgyptAir plane that was hijacked on Tuesday morning.

    Cypriot police told dozens of journalists and patrons of a number of trendy coffee shops and restaurants to vacate Makenzy Beach, which is popular with tourists.

    The beach is just meters away from the outer fence of Cyprus' main airport at Larnaca where the aircraft landed Tuesday after a hijacker diverted it to the east Mediterranean island.

    Associated Press

  • 16:30 (IST)

    Hijacker's demands

    Seif Eldin Mustafa has allegedly asked for the release of female prisoners in Egypt, according to reports from Cyprus's State broadcaster.

  • 16:27 (IST)

    Cyprus's foreign ministry confirms identity of hijacker

  • 16:26 (IST)

    Hijacker's identity wrong

    Initial reports suggested that the hijacker was an Egyptian national by the name Ibrahim Samaha. Later it was discovered that Samaha was one of the passengers on the MS181. This was revealed by Gamal al-Omrawi, a deputy dean at Alexandria University who confirmed that Samaha is reportedly a professor of veterinary medicine at the University. 

  • 15:26 (IST)

    Woman claims to be married to Ibrahim Samaha, but says hijacker not her husband

    An Egyptian woman has said she is the wife of Ibrahim Samaha — the name given earlier by Egyptian officials as the hijacker. She says her husband, with the same name, is not the hijacker and that he was on his way to Cairo en route to the United States to attend a conference.

    The woman, who identified herself as Nahla, told the private TV network ONTV in a telephone interview that her husband had never been to Cyprus and that a photo shown on Egyptian and regional TV channels and purporting to show the hijacker is not her husband.

    The confusion over the identity of the hijacker could not immediately be resolved.

    Associated Press

  • 15:05 (IST)

    'Our priority is safety'

    Egyptian government confirms only seven people onboard, four of which are crew members and three are passengers.

    The Egyptian Minister for Civil Aviation said that they cannot reveal the nationalities of the passengers on board and more than one authority is taking part in the negotiations.

    "We are dealing with the situation at the highest possible level. As we speak, there are no specific demands raised by the hijacker. I request you not to listen to the reports. Negotiations are underway and we cannot disclose any specific demands. We cannot determine the duration of the negotiation, our priority is the safety of all onboard. I request you not to listen to any reports, only to information released by me.Certain information cannot be disclosed, we cannot be overwhelmed by journalistic instincts. Let us do our duties and then we can release all the pieces of information at a later stage. Any reports on names or nationalities is not in the best interest."

  • 14:50 (IST)

    Cypriot President Anastasiades says not a 'terrorism-related' hijacking 

    The hijacking of an EgyptAir plane to Cyprus today is not related to terrorism, the island's President Nicos Anastasiades said. "The hijacking is not terrorism-related," he told a joint ,news conference with the visiting president of the European Parliament Martin Schultz. Anastasiades said the Cyprus government had done everything it could to ensure the safe release of the passengers, most of whom were reported to have been set free.

  • 14:31 (IST)

    Cyprus Foreign Ministry says Ibrahim 'not a terrorist but an idiot'

  • 14:12 (IST)

    Reports suggest hijacker's ex-wife on her way to larnaca airport 

  • 14:11 (IST)

    Latest from Larnaca

  • 14:08 (IST)

    According to witnesses...

  • 14:08 (IST)

    Emergency contact numbers listed below

  • 14:02 (IST)

    Number of airplanes diverted apparently because of one man's unrequited love

  • 13:59 (IST)

    Officials enter EgyptAir MS181

  • 13:58 (IST)

    Hijacker wants to meet wife, live in Cyprus 

  • 13:53 (IST)

    Daily News Egypt has a theory about the hijacker

  • 13:52 (IST)

    No explosives?

  • 13:50 (IST)

    Four Britons were on Passenger manifest of MS181. Their whereabouts are not known yet. 

  • 13:46 (IST)

    Passengers disembarking the EgyptAir flight MS181

  • 13:42 (IST)

    Security: A serious threat at Egyptian airports

    The hijacking, however, will most likely bring to the fore again the question of security at Egyptian airports, five months after a Russian aircraft crashed over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula minutes after it took off from Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. All 224 people on board were killed in the crash. Russia later said an explosive device brought down the aircraft and the extremist Islamic State group said it downed the plane, according to AP.

  • 13:37 (IST)

    Hijacker allegedly diverted the plane to Cyprus to meet ex-wife

  • 13:32 (IST)

    Airport lockdown

    Cyprus closes Larnaca airport, all flights to be diverted to Paphos. 

  • 13:26 (IST)

    Political Asylum

    Reports suggest that the hijacker, Ibrahim Samaha wants political asylum in Cyprus.

  • 13:24 (IST)

    The hijacker, Ibrahim Samaha is a 27 year-old Egyptian national.

  • 13:20 (IST)

    Nationalities of four foreigners on board still not known

  • 13:13 (IST)

    Here's the Sky News recap:

  • 13:13 (IST)

    Negotiations underway

    "The information we have so far is that it is one hijacker. The person has yet to make any demands,” Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Alexandros Zenon told French iTele television.The police has been asked to stay away from the plane at Larnaca airport. While there is no confirmation on the explosives, the hijacker has released all passengers on board except the cabin crew and four foreigners.

  • 13:04 (IST)

    Latest from EgyptAir

  • 13:03 (IST)

    Pilot raised the alarm
    Information has been received that the pilot, identified as Omar al-Gammal was allegedly  threatened by the hijacker and forced to land in Larnaca, Reuters reports. 
    Egypt's aviation ministry said the pliot was threatened by the hijacker who appeared to have been wearing a explosives belt. 


A Cypriot government official says the hijacked plane landed on Tuesday morning at the airport in Larnaca and that there are suspicions of a bomb on board, said a report from AP.

The AP report said that a second Cypriot official says there "seems like there's more than one hijacker." He says there have been no demands other than that police vehicles move away from the aircraft.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.

 EgyptAir Hijack Live: Idiot hijacker arrested, all hostages released, Cyprus foreign ministry confirms

The EgyptAir flight was slated to fly from Alexandria to Cairo. The plan was hijacked in Alexandria when the pilot was forced to land the aircraft at Larnaka airport in Cyprus.

The statement from the Egyptian aviation authority says the MS181 is an Airbus and that it has about 60 passengers on board and five crew members, one of whom is thought to be armed, according to CNN IBN.

The hijackers contacted the control tower at 8.30 am (0530 GMT) and the plane was given permission to land at 8.50 am, the police said, reported AFP.

The hijackers made no immediate demands and a crisis team has been deployed to the airport.

Here are the official tweets from EgyptAir:

(landed at larnakh and is negotiating with the kidnappers)

EgyptAir's official press release:

Press Release 1Cairo 29 March 2016 An EGYPTAIR official declared that its flight number MS181 heading from HBE...

Posted by EGYPTAIR on Tuesday, 29 March 2016

التصريح الصحفي 2القاهرة 29 مارس 201609:00المفاوضات مع المختطف تسفر عن الإفراج عن جميع ركاب الطائرة فيما عدا طاقم الطائرة وخمس أجانب.

Posted by EGYPTAIR on Tuesday, 29 March 2016

With inputs from Agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 29, 2016 17:33:27 IST