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Seven people still on board the hijacked Egyptian plane

Seven people still on board the hijacked Egyptian plane

India Blooms News Service | 29 Mar 2016, 10:00 pm
Nicosia, Mar 29 (IBNS) At least three passengers and four crew are still on the the plane, hijacked by a man to Cyprus on Tuesday as Egypt corrects the hijacker's name.

CNN quoted Sherif Fathy Ateyya, the Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation as saying that the hijacker's name is Seif El Din Mustafa, an Egyptian national and not Ibrahim Samaha, as told earlier.

"Officials don’t know whether or not the reports that the hijacker had a suicide belt on are true -- but we are treating it as if it is real,” he said.

Reports say the hijacker is now demanding the release of some female prisoners in Egypt.

The Airbus was hijacked on Tuesday morning when it was headed from Alexandria in Egypt to Cairo, the capital.

Conflicting reports are being received about the number of people on board the plane at the time it was hijacked -- Egypt's aviation ministry just said 55, Cyprus said earlier it was 72, and the airline said earlier that it was 81.

“It seems that 49 passengers have been released. We are doing our utmost in order for everyone to be released and safe and to give an end to this unprecedented (incident). In any case it is not something which has to do with terrorism," an official statement from the Cyprus government said. 

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.

Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry earlier said that the hijacker had threatened the captain with blowing up a belt of explosives.

Local media then reported that the motives of the hijacker appeared personal, and he  had asked to contact his ex wife, who lives in Cyprus.

An Egyptian government spokesman told a news channel that  the hijacker wanted to go to Istanbul but was told by the captain that he did not have enough fuel for the journey.
Cyprus has seen little militant activity for decades, despite its proximity to the Middle East.
A botched attempt by Egyptian commandos to storm a hijacked airliner at Larnaca airport led to the disruption of diplomatic relations between Cyprus and Egypt in 1978. In 1988, a Kuwaiti airliner which had been hijacked from Bangkok to Kuwait in a 16-day siege had a stopover in Larnaca, where two hostages were killed.
Passengers on the plane included eight Britons and 10 Americans, three security sources at Alexandria airport said. The Dutch Foreign Ministry said a Dutchman was among the foreigners still onboard the aircraft.

Seven people still on board the hijacked Egyptian plane

India Blooms News Service
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