CAIRO: All passengers aboard the hijacked EgyptAir shuttle have been freed and the hijacker arrested in Cypriot airport Larnaca after a hectic Tuesday morning.
Although alleged hijacker Seif el-Din Mostafa Iman, 58, was first reported to be seeking a meeting with his Cyprus-based ex wife, he was reported by Reuters to demand the release of female prisoners back in Egypt.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said Mostafa’s motives are still “unclear,” while the Egyptian police said he was previously convicted of theft, forgery and fraud, Youm7 reported.
Flight MS181 was headed from Alexandria to Cairo before being forced to land in Cyprus. Thirty Egyptians, 10 Americans and eight Britons were among the 55 passengers onboard.
Mostafa initially let women and children out of the craft, claiming he had an explosive belt on. Cypriot police later raided the plane and all hostages were safely freed.
The claimed explosive belt has yet to be examined.
Egypt has recently tried to deflect accusations of lax security in its airports following the crash of a Russian plane 23 minutes after it took off from Sharm al-Sheikh in October 2015. A number of foreign security experts have visited Egypt to inspect security procedures in Egypt, although final reports have not yet been released.