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#EgyptAir hijacker arrested

The plane, with more than 60 passengers on board, was forced to land at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus.

Passengers leave an EgyptAir Airbus A-320 sitting on the tarmac of Larnaca airport after it was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus on March 29, 2016. Picture: AFP
Egypt,EgyptAir,Cyprus,hijacked Egyptian plane
World

JOHANNESBURG – The Egypt Air plane hijacker, identified as Seif Eldin Mustafa, has been arrested.

The plane, with more than 60 passengers on board, was forced to land at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus this morning. 

It’s understood some passengers were held hostage by Mustafa who was reportedly demanding the release of female prisoners from Egypt.

All the hostages on board the hijacked Egypt Air flight have been rescued.

CNN’s Ian Lee said, “This is something they wanted to do: end this peacefully. We do not know the state of the other passengers who were on that plane. But the main goal of it was to take this person alive and make sure no one got hurt.”

Cairo’s government has confirmed the man is Egyptian and says he had asked to meet European Union officials or to fly on to another airport.

No explosives were found on him but he’s believed to be unstable.

He’ll now be questioned to ascertain the true motives behind the hijacking.

Aviation analyst Mary Schiavo said, “What’s more important is what happens now because they have to go back to Egypt and evaluate if there were any security lapses. Apparently did not have any explosives on him so it is possible that there weren’t security lapses.” 

Earlier, local television showed footage of five people leaving the Airbus 320.

In the footage, one man can be seen climbing out of the cockpit while three more people, dressed in uniforms run down the plane’s steps.

Eyewitness News this morning confirmed that two South African-based priests were on board the EgyptAir plane.

EWN confirmed that the two Greek Orthodox priests were in Egypt where Bishop Nicodimus Boulaksis was ordained as a bishop on Sunday.

Father Gerassimos Venturas from the Orthodox Church in Johannesburg says they were on their way to Cairo to catch a connecting flight back home.

“At about 9:15am I received a phone call that they’re were let free and are safe. They are okay. It wasn’t a pleasant experience but we would like to say a great thanks to God that they are alive and safe.”

They are expected back in South Africa as soon as tomorrow.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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