Update: Lovestruck 'Idiot' Hijacked Egyptian Airliner, Situation Now 'Over'

Posted: Mar 29, 2016 6:35 AM


The hijacker, identified as Seifedeen Mustafa, has been arrested and the situation is "over."

A Cyprus foreign ministry official says the hijacker of the EgyptAir plane that was diverted to Cyprus has been arrested and that the situation is "over."

Alexandros Zenon, the permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, did not immediately have more details on the arrest, which ended an hours-long drama at the Larnaca airport.

Earlier, seven more people — presumably the last of the crew and passengers who had remained with the hijackers onboard — were seen leaving the plane. One man climbed out the cockpit window.


Egypt's foreign ministry has confirmed that the hijacker is “not a terrorist,” but a lovestruck “idiot.” 

“Terrorists are crazy but they aren’t stupid," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "This guy is.” 

Authorities are still working on releasing the remaining few passengers and crewmembers. 

Original Post: 

The passenger claimed to be wearing a suicide vest, but Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the incident was “not something that has to do with terrorism.”

Bizarrely, the hijacker “seems [to be] in love,” a Cypriot government official told the Associated Press.

Fox News has the details (emphasis mine):

A civil aviation official, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't allowed to disclose details of ongoing negotiations, said the man gave negotiators the name of a woman who lives in Cyprus and asked to give her an envelope. It's unclear what relationship she and the man have. [...]

The Airbus A320 landed at the airport in Larnaka, on the southern coast of the Mediterranean island, at approximately 8:45 a.m. local time (1:45 a.m. ET). 

Hours after the plane landed, all but three of the plane's passengers and four members of the the cabin crew had been allowed to leave the aircraft, according to Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister. EgyptAir described the remaining passengers as foreigners, but did not give their nationality.

The director of the Alexandria airport, Hossni Hassan, told the Associated Press there were 26 foreigners on board, including eight Americans, four Britons, four Dutch, two Belgians, a French national, an Italian, two Greeks and one Syrian. He said three other foreigners could not be identified.

Sky News reported that the short-haul Flight 181 took off from Alexandria at 8 a.m. Cyprus time. The hijacker contacted the control tower in Lanarka 30 minutes later and was given permission to land.

Ian Petchenik, a spokesman for flight-tracking website FlightRadar24, told the Associated Press that the flight showed no signs of distress on its route to Cyprus.

"It looks like a completely controlled flight aside from the fact it was hijacked," Petchenik said.

Negotiations are ongoing and this post will be updated as new information is released.