Peaceful end to hijacking of EgyptAir Flight MS181, hijacker in custody

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All passengers and crew are safe following the hijacking of EgyptAir Flight MS181. Authorities say the hijacker, who claimed to be armed with an explosive belt, has been taken into custody.

The Airbus A320, which wa heading from Alexandria to Cairo, was forced to land in Cyprus at around 7:50 a.m. local time after a passenger claimed to have an explosive belt. It turns out what appeared to have been an explosive belt was in fact a belt with mobile phone cases.

Negotiations began shortly after the plane landed, with a majority of the passengers being released shortly after the aircraft landed. Four foreigners and seven crew members, including the pilot, remained on board during the standoff, which lasted for several hours.

The hijacker, Seif Eldin Mustafa, who was said to be “unstable” and in his late 50s, reportedly demanded to speak to his ex-wife or to give her a letter. Mustafa also asked to speak with an official from the European Union that would grant him asylum. Authorities believe the motive appears to be personal.

56 passengers were onboard the domestic flight, including six crew and a security official.

A statement from Egypt’s civil aviation ministry said 26 foreign passengers were on board, including eight Americans, four Britons, four Dutch citizens, two Belgians, two Greeks, a French national, an Italian and a Syrian.

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