HRNW (Larnaca): The hijack of a domestic Egyptian flight that caused it to be diverted to Cyprus has ended with all hostages released and the hijacker surrendering.
EgyptAir Flight MS181 was taken over by a passenger claiming to be wearing a suicide explosive belt.
Airline officials later said they had been told by Cypriot authorities that the belt was fake.
The hijacker’s motives remain unclear but the Cypriot president said the incident was not terrorism-related.
No-one was injured in the hijacking, Cypriot government spokesman Nikos Christodulides tweeted.
After a morning of tension, the hijacker was seen walking down aircraft steps at Larnaca airport with his hands raised.
Some reports said the Egyptian man – named by Cypriot officials as Seif Eldin Mustafa – wanted to talk to his estranged Cypriot wife who lives on the Mediterranean island, while others said he was seeking the release of female prisoners in Egypt.
Local media reports said the hijacker had handed over a four-page letter in Arabic after the plane landed at Larnaca on Tuesday morning, and that later a woman thought to be his wife had arrived at the airport.
Earlier, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had responded to a reporter’s question about whether the hijacker was motivated by romance, by laughing and saying: “Always there is a woman involved.”
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