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CAIRO, March 29. /TASS/. The EgyptAir domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked by Egyptian national Ibrahim Samaha, the Al Arabiya TV channel reported on Tuesday.
The hijacker planned to fly to Turkey but the plane landed in Cyprus due to the lack of fuel, the report said. Al Ahram said the hijacker is a professor of veterinary medicine at Alexandria University.
#IbrahimSamaha onboard the #EgyptAir flight pic.twitter.com/jxuARxxdhU— Rachel McArthur (@raychdigitalink) 29 марта 2016 г.
However there are different reports about Samaha’s nationality. Sky News Arabia reported that he is a Egyptian. Other media said that Samaha, 30, is a Libyan national previously married to a Cypriot woman.
The Greek Πρώτο Θέμα daily says the motives of the hijacker may be linked to his private life as he demanded a meeting with his ex-wife, a resident of Cyprus.
"Cypriot authorities are taking the woman to the airport to speak with the man. He has demanded to give a 4-page letter to the woman," the protothema.gr reported.
The woman is reportedly called Marina Paraschou.
#EgyptAir hijacker may have personal motives - Cyprus broadcasterhttps://t.co/94hAY2ANWP #EgyptAirHijack pic.twitter.com/hYAU4vfeZA— New Straits Times (@NST_Online) 29 марта 2016 г.
Other media reports suggested that the gunman requested political asylum in Cyprus during the talks with local authorities.
Al Arabiaya also said there are no explosives on board.
EgypAir said there were 81 passengers on board the hijacked plane en route from Alexandria to Cairo. The Al Arabiya TV channel reported that 21 foreign citizens were among the passengers of the plane, 8 of them American and 8 British nationals were among the passengers. Some 30 passengers are Egyptian citizens, the Al-Youm Al-Sabaa news portal said.
The plane landed at the Larnaca airport at 8.50 a.m. Moscow time (0550GMT).
Russia’s embassy in Cyprus said talks are underway with the hijacker.
"According to the embassy’s information, talks are now held with the hijacker so that he agrees to free women and children," the embassy said, adding that no Russians are onboard the plane.