Egyptian Man Hijacks a Plane with a Fake Explosive Belt

A man believed to be a crew member of the hijacked plane jumps out of the cockpit window at Larnaca Airport yesterday (EPA)
A man believed to be a crew member of the hijacked plane jumps out of the cockpit window at Larnaca Airport yesterday (EPA)

The crisis of the hijacked Egyptian plane that was forced to divert to Larnaca Airport in Cyprus yesterday ended with the hijacker surrendering and the release of all those on board. The hijacker, who claimed to be in possession of an explosive belt took control of the EgyptAir flight before it became clear in the end that the belt was fake, and that the Cypriot authorities had not found any explosives on board.

There were conflicting reports about the motives for the kidnapping and security sources said that the hijacker Seif Al-Din Mustafa “wanted to send a letter to his Cypriot ex-wife”. An official at the Foreign Ministry of Cyprus said the Egyptian hijacker, who is believed to be mentally unstable, handed over a hand written letter consisting of four pages addressed to his ex-wife who arrived at Larnaca Airport and collected the letter from a flight attendant.

Seif Al-Din Mustafa, who is accused of several fraud related crimes in Egypt, persuaded the cabin crew and passengers that he was wearing an explosive belt and forced them to comply with his demands. The Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Egyptian police announced the hijacking of EgyptAir flight 181 yesterday morning. They said that 81 passengers were on board the Airbus 320, in addition to its crew consisting of seven people and a security guard. The plane was supposed to fly from Alexandria to Cairo but was forced to divert and landed at Larnaca Airport, Cyprus.