NICOSIA, March 29. /TASS/. The hijacker of A320 passenger plane of EgyptAir airline has surrendered to Cyprus police and all the hostages have been freed, with no one of them hurt, the official spokesman of Egypt’s government said on Tuesday.
Egypt Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told reporters that flight MS181 from Burj al-Arab in Egypt’s Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked on Tuesday morning by an Egyptian national. The plane later landed at Larnaca airport in Cyprus. The airline said on its website there were 56 passengers, seven crew members and one security officer onboard the plane. It earlier said on its Twitter account that there were 81 people onboard.
The hijacker has been identified as Seif Eldin Mustafa, a former Egyptian army officer. Original reports claimed that the hijacker was professor named Ibrahim Samaha, who has both Egyptian and US citizenship, but it later turned out that he was among the evacuated passengers.
Egypt’s prime minister said the hijacker first wanted to fly to other airports and then demanded a meeting with the representatives of the European Union, he said, adding however that no clear demands were made.
"Investigative bodies are yet to find out the true reasons behind the crime and motives that had pushed the Egyptian to hijack the plane," the premier said.
Initial reports said the hijacker could have explosives, but the information was not confirmed later.
Several hours after the plane landed in Larnaca, most hostages were allowed to disembark. Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy later told reporters that seven people, including three passengers, remained onboard the aircraft.
Among the hostages were the pilot, second pilot, flight hostess and security officer, the minister said. At 2.30 p.m. Moscow time (1130GMT) all the hostages were released.
An airport representative said the evacuated passengers are expected to return to Egypt late on Tuesday.