In a throwback to the “good old days” of pre-9/11 hijacking, an EgyptAir domestic flight traveling from Alexandria to Cairo was commandeered by a man claiming to have a bomb strapped to himself and forced to divert to Larnaca, Cyrpus. Most hostages have been released and according to the Cypriot President, the hijacking is a love problem and not terrorism.
MS181, an Airbus A320 carrying 81 passengers, took off at 6:36a local time for Cairo. Soon after takeoff, an Egyptian national claimed he had a bomb strapped to his belt and ordered the captain to divert to Larnaca, Cyprus, 356 miles away. The plane landed in Larnaca at 8:07a.
All passengers have now been allowed to exit the plane, but a few members of the crew remain onboard. According to the BBC, passengers included eight Americans, four Britons, four Dutch, two Belgians, one Italian and 30 Egyptians.
The hijacker has demanded an Arabic interpreter and also demanded that his estranged Cypriot wife be brought the airport. This prompted Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiade to state that terrorism was not a motive here.
It is heartening that all the passengers have been freed and as this story develops, let us hope that no one is hurt.