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Terrorism

EgyptAir Hijacking Ends With One Arrest, No Casualties

EgyptAir Hijacking Ends With One Arrest, No Casualties
Joe Cortez

Authorities believe the hijacker was acting out against ex-wife.

Dozens of flyers aboard EgyptAir Flight 181 (MS181) are safe in Cyprus, while their hijacker will face charges for taking over the flight. CNN reports the flight, originally scheduled as a domestic flight between Alexandria El Nouzha Airport (ALY) to Cairo International Airport (CAI), ended up on the island of Cyprus once the hijacker took over.

According to reports from Egyptian media, the hijacker was identified as Seif El Din Mustafa. The Guardian reports the man allegedly claimed to be wearing an explosive belt during his hijacking and forced the pilots to divert the Airbus A320 from their original flight path to Larnaca International Airport (LCA). It was later discovered the hijacker was not wearing any explosives. Authorities believe Mustafa chose Cyprus in order to make contact with his ex-wife, who is a resident of the island nation.

During the standoff, Mustafa’s alleged demands became erratic. At one point, CNN reports the supposed hijacker demanded the aircraft be refueled and flown to Istanbul. The Guardian reports the man also may have requested the release of Egyptian female prisoners.

The standoff ended peacefully after six hours of negotiations between the hijacker and Cypriot authorities. All of the passengers aboard, including eight American and four British passengers, evacuated the aircraft unharmed. The hijacker surrendered without further incident and may face charges in either Cyprus or Egypt.

The hijacking of MS181 marks the second security incident for the Egyptian air transportation infrastructure in the past year, as well as the second domestic incident affecting a commercial aircraft in the past 14 months. In November 2015, Russian airline MetroJet lost an Airbus A321 after a bomb exploded aboard the aircraft. All 224 people aboard were killed when the aircraft crashed in the Sinai Peninsula.

Subsequently, an Italian pilot was pulled off duty and arrested in January 2015, after making threats of crashing the aircraft in his command to his estranged wife. The pilot in that incident remains in psychiatric care.

[AP Photo/Petros Karadjias]

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1 Comment

  1. Psychocadet

    March 29, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Good article but surprisingly fails to mention that if the hijacker had a CIB-EGYPTAIR “Mileseverywhere®” Mastercard, he would have quickly earned enough rewards points to take the trip to Cyprus for free.

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