The hijacker of an EgyptAir passenger jet was arrested at Cyprus’ Larnaca airport after a five-hour standoff. No one was hurt in the incident after the man surrendered to authorities.
The EgyptAir domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked on Tuesday morning and forced to divert to the island
Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said the pilot of the plane, Omar al-Gammal, was threatened by a passenger strapped with explosives, but it later said the hijacker’s suicide belt was fake.
Photographs shown on Egyptian state television showed a middle-aged man on a plane wearing glasses and displaying a white belt with bulging pockets and protruding wires.
Conflicting theories emerged about the hijacker’s motives.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the man seemed to have a personal motive and the incident was “not related to terrorism”. Cyprus state TV said he wanted to contact his ex-wife, who is Greek-Cypriot and lives in Larnaca.
Earlier reports said the man demanded the release of women prisoners in Egypt.
EgyptAir said flight 181 had 81 people on board, including a crew of seven. Most were released shortly after landing in Cyprus.
At 11:30 GMT, the last seven people were seen leaving the aircraft, one whom escaped though the cockpit window.