LARNACA, Cyprus (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Cyprus foreign ministry official says the hijacker of the EgyptAir plane that was diverted to Cyprus has been arrested and that the situation is “over.”
Alexandros Zenon, the permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, did not immediately have more details on the arrest, which ended an hours-long drama at the Larnaca airport.
Egyptian officials have identified the hijacker as Seifedeen Mustafa. An earlier name given for him was wrong.
The plane was supposed to fly from Alexandria, Egypt to Cairo. It left with at least 55 passengers and seven crew members and most everyone on board was released.
Soon after touching down he released 49 passengers, including eight Americans. But he kept the pilot, co-pilot and a handful of others on board for several hours, CBS’ Willem Marx reported from London.
Local TV footage from the scene later showed seven more people leaving the plane, with one man climbing out of the cockpit window and then sliding off the plane. The others left by climbing down the stairs in two groups.
The airline said a passenger threatened the pilot during the flight, telling him he had a suicide belt and demanding the plane be re-routed, CBS News reported. The plane later landed in the southern Cypriot city of Larnaca.
The president of Cyprus says he doesn’t think the hijacking has to do with terrorism and the hijacker asked negotiators to deliver a letter to a woman, his ex-wife, in Cyprus.
U.S. officials also told CBS News the incident did not appear to be terrorism-related, but rather was driven by personal motives.
No explosives were found on the suspect.
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