Tuesday, March 29, 2016 9:01 am
A passenger with a suicide belt threatened the pilot of a hijacked EgyptAir plane that was diverted to Cyprus on Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Ministry said.
The hijacked plane was on a domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo. The plane was an Airbus 320, Egypt’s aviation ministry said.
In a statement, the ministry said pilot Omar al-Gammal had informed authorities that he was threatened by a passenger who possessed a suicide belt and forced him to land in Larnaca.
The hijacker is said to be an Egyptian national.
EgyptAir said in a statement on Tuesday that only crew and four foreigners remained on the plane.
It had said in a previous statement that the number of foreigners remaining on the aircraft was five.
About 30 to 40 passengers were released, Cyprus state media reported on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation reported that 55 passengers were on board and a crew of seven.
CYBC said the airplane was parked at an apron at Larnaca airport. The hijacker asked police to back away from the aircraft, it said.
Israel scrambled warplanes in its airspace as a precaution in response to the plane hijacking, according to an Israeli military source.