The hijacking of an EgyptAir flight is over

The hijacked EgyptAir flight. Source: Screenshot

An Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir A320 with 63 people on board and forced it to land in Cyprus has been arrested, with the hostage drama ending peacefully several hours after it began.

The domestic flight from Alexandria, bound for Cairo, was hijacked just after 8am on Tuesday Egypt time, and was forced to land in Cyprus after the man claimed to be wearing a suicide belt.

He was not.

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said the hijacking was “not related to terrorism”.

A government spokesperson, Nikos Christodoulides, said the hostages were released unharmed.

The hijacker reportedly left the plane with his hands in the air.

Sky News Arabia captured footage of one man, who appears to be a pilot, escaping out the cockpit window.

And the subsequent arrest:

He is an Egyptian national the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs subsequently named as Seif Eldin Mustafa after he was at first mistakenly identified as another man, who is believed to be a passenger.

Sky News Arabia reported that security sources in Egypt said the hijacker’s sister was arrested in the wake of the drama.

Reports about the hijacker’s motives ranged seeking political asylum to demanding the release of female political prisoners in Egypt. The hijacker has an ex-wife in Cyprus and witnesses have said he threw a letter on the tarmac of the airport, written in Arabic, which he demanded be delivered to her. Reuters reports she is a Cypriot national and currently resides there.

President Anastasiades even made light of the drama after it ended.

The airline said 56 passengers and seven crew were aboard flight MS181.

As the six-hour drama unfolded earlier in the day, EgyptAir said on Twitter that all the passengers except the crew and four passengers had been released.

At around 8.30pm EADT, the Egyptian civil aviation minister said seven people were still being held hostage, including three passengers.

EgyptAir subsequently said the pilot, co-pilot and 3 cabin crew were among those on board.

Sky News reports Larnaca airport, where the plane landed, was closed and flights diverted during the drama.

When the hijacked plane landed Source: Business Insider UK

* Additional reporting by Cyrus Engineer.

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