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Hijacking of EgyptAir plane not terrorist attack — Cypriot president

March 29, 12:07 UTC+3
The EgyptAir domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked by Egyptian national Ibrahim Samaha
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© EPA/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

NICOSIA, March 29. /TASS/. Hijacking of the EgyptAir plane that landed at Larnaca airport in Cyprus earlier today is not a terrorist attack, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday.

Among the hostages are the pilot, second pilot, flight hostess and a security officer, the minister said at a news conference.

The hijacker, Ibrahim Samaha, has made no clear demands so far, he said, adding that the talks are ongoing. Fathy also refused to reveal any more details on what is going on at the Larnaca airport due to "security reasons."

A plane is currently heading from Cairo to Larnaca to evacuate the released passengers.

The EgyptAir domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked by Egyptian national Ibrahim Samaha, the Al Arabiya TV channel reported earlier. 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.

EgyptAir 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, including US and British citizens. 

The Greek media earlier said 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's name is reportedly Marina Paraschou.

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