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Gaddafi Loyalists Hijacked Airplane with Replica Weapons | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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One of the suspected hijackers is tackled while the other is pinned on the ground as the dramatic standoff comes to a close

Cairo- Libyans lived hours of fear before the hijacking of a Libyan plane ended peacefully. Two armed men had hijacked the airplane and obliged it to stand-off in Malta, 500 km north of the Libyan coast.

According to Libyan sources, the two hijackers are: Moussa Shaha and Ahmed Ali and they are not known for any political activity.

Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the weapons the hijackers were carrying appeared to be replicas, according to an initial forensic examination. He carried out a phone call with Prime Minister Faiz Al Siraj.

There were 111 passengers people, not to mention the crew members, on board — the hijacked Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 was on an internal flight from Sabha in south east Libya to the capital city of Tripoli.

The airplane was obliged to stand off in Malta while one of the hijackers claimed to be head of a party that backs Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi. Libya’s Channel TV station said one hijacker, who gave his name as Moussa Shaha, said by phone he was the head of Al-Fateh Al-Jadid – this name was accorded by Gaddafi to September 1969 during the military coup.

Taher Siala, the foreign minister of Libya’s Al-Wefaq government, also said that hijackers have said they want to set up a pro-Gaddafi political party. Images circulating on social media showed one of the hijackers waving the green flag of Gaddafi just outside the door of the plane.

The airplane landed on Friday and remained around one hour at the runway before the first group of women and children began to get out. After minutes dozens of passengers started to exit the airplane following negotiations which were held by head of Armed Forces of Malta.