EgyptAir flight 181: Passenger claiming to have suicide bomb hijacks plane from Alexandria to Cairo - latest updates

EgyptAir flight 181: Passenger claiming to have suicide bomb hijacks plane from Alexandria to Cairo - latest updates
Airbus A320 carrying 56 passengers lands after request by pilots at Larnaca airport in Cyprus 

An Egypt Air Airbus A-320 sits on the tarmac of Larnaca aiport after it was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus Getty Images

    EgyptAir confirms its plane was hijacked en route from Alexandria to Cairo
    'It is not to do with terrorism', says Cypriot president as hijacker 'demands to speak to ex-wife'
    Airbus A320 carrying 56 passengers landed after request by pilots at Larnaca airport in Cyprus
    Airline says at least one hijacker involved 'in possession of suicide vest'
    Negotiations with police lead to release of all on board except for four foreigners and the crew
    Cypriot officials say hijackers initially offered to let women and children go
    Hijacker identified in unconfirmed reports as possible Egyptian national Ibrahim Samaha
    Eyewitness reports suggest people have started disembarking the plane
    Negotiations ongoing but hijacker said to be yet to make demands

    A man named by Egyptian authorities as the suspect who allegedly threatened a pilot with a suicide bomb has denied responsibility for the hijacking. State television reported that Ibrahim Samaha, an Egyptian national aged 27 or 28 years old, diverted the EgyptAir flight from Alexandria to Cairo on Tuesday morning.
    21 minutes ago
    There is a lot of confusion now over the identity of the hijacker, with Egyptian officials backtracking after naming him as vet Ibrahim Samaha.

    A man identifying himself as Dr Ibrahim Samaha has spoken to BBC Arabic, saying he was a passenger on the plane and not involved in hijacking it.
    24 minutes ago
    There are still seven people on board the plane, in addition to the hijacker.

    Four are crew - pilot, co-pilot, an air hostess and an Egyptian air martial, as well as three passengers - whose nationalities are known but not being released right now.

    That's all from the Civil Aviation Minister's press conference just now in Cairo.

    The minister also revealed that the hijacker definitely does not have a weapon, but claimed he had a suicide belt. Police are being cautious and treating him as if he did have explosives.
    41 minutes ago
    At a press conference earlier,  Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters: "It is not something which has to do with terrorism."

    Asked if a woman was involved he said "There is always a woman involved."
    an hour ago
    Officials are confirming the identity of hijacker Ibrahim Samaha, and providing more details on his background.

    Officials at the Egyptian airport from which the hijacked EgyptAir aircraft took off and was taken to Cyprus say the hijacker is a native of the Egyptian Mediterranean city of Alexandria and a dual Egyptian-American citizen. 

    Egyptian officials have earlier identified the hijacker as Ibrahim Samaha, a veterinarian. 

    The plane took off from Bourg el-Arab airport just outside Alexandria and was flying on a regular route to Cairo, the Egyptian capital, on Tuesday when the hijacking took place. 

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. 
    an hour ago
    A Cyprus government official has told the Associated Press the hijacker "seems (to be) in love".

    A civil aviation official, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't allowed to disclose details of ongoing negotiations, said the man gave negotiators the name of a woman who lives in Cyprus and asked to give her an envelope. Officials are still unclear what relationship she and the man have. 
    an hour ago
    Egypt's President Sisi has spoken to his Cypriot counterpart this morning for an update on the EgyptAir situation. 

    Sisi “stressed Egypt’s commitment to the safety and security of all passengers on board the plane, noting that it is taking all necessary measures to ensure this," according to a statement from his office.
    an hour ago
    'He's not a terrorist, he's an idiot'

    Amid growing speculation about the hijacker's motives, the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has said the Egypt plane hijacking is not related to "terrorism".

    The Guardian quoted a foreign ministry official in Cairo as saying: "He's not a terrorist, he's an idiot. Terrorists are crazy but they aren't stupid. This guy is."
    an hour ago
    The director of the Alexandria airport, Hossni Hassan, says there were 26 foreigners on board, including eight Americans, four Britons, four Dutch, two Belgians, a French national, an Italian, two Greeks and one Syrian. He said three other foreigners could not be identified.

    That conflicts with earlier reports from the Egyptian side that there were eight Britons and 10 Americans on board.
    2 hours ago
    What we know about Ibrahim Samaha, the EgyptAir 'hijacker'
    The IndependentEgyptian authorities have named the suspected hijacker who allegedly threatened a pilot with a suicide bomb as Ibrahim Samaha. State television reported that the Egyptian national is 27 or 28 years old and had been sat in 38K on EgyptAir flight from Alexandria to Cairo on Tuesday morning.
    2 hours ago
    According to AFP, a government official seems to be confirming that the hijacker, believed to be Ibrahim Samaha, has requested to speak to his estranged wife.
    2 hours ago
    Five more passengers are leaving the plane now, according to a reporter from the AFP news agency.

    Cypriot state radio is describing these as the final passengers, though that's not confirmed.
    2 hours ago
    EgyptAir has set up an emergency call centre for those affected by the hijacking incident.

    It listed numbers for within Egypt - 0800 77 77 000 

    And international callers - +2 02 25989320-29
    2 hours ago
    Cyprus broadcasting (CYBC) reported that the hijacker, named in reports as Ibrahim Samaha, may have personal motives. He had an ex-wife in Cyprus, CYBC said.

    Witnesses said the hijacker threw a letter on the apron of the airport in Larnaca, written in Arabic, asking that it be delivered to his ex-wife, who is Cypriot.
    2 hours ago
    A picture has also been circulating for some time now which appears to have aired on Egyptian state TV and may show the hijacker stood at the front of the plane. 

    BREAKING Possible hijacker standing at front of the #Egyptair A320 flight #MS181
    9:13 AM - 29 Mar 2016

    That's very much unconfirmed at this stage.
    2 hours ago
    There are some reports circulating in Cypriot media that, in addition to demanding political asylum, the hijacker has demanded a message be sent to a Cypriot girl, possibly the man's ex-wife. It's unclear how much of the detail circulating now about demands is simply speculation.
    2 hours ago
    Officials "doubt the hijacker has any real explosives", an Egyptian aviation official has said.

    Egypt Civil Aviation Ministry spokesman Ihab Raslan was speaking to CNN.
    2 hours ago
    Egyptian and Cypriot officials say around 60 people have now been released from the plane in total.

    Images on state TV showed them filing off the plane and onto a waiting bus - most carrying their luggage.
    2 hours ago
    An official with a flight-tracking website says the EgyptAir flight that was hijacked on the way to Cairo showed no immediate signs of distress while in the air. 

    Ian Petchenik, a spokesman for FlightRadar24, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that EgyptAir flight MS181 flew in a typical fashion on the Cyprus, without the pilots signaling any trouble via their transponder. 

    Petchenik said: "It looks like a completely controlled flight aside from the fact it was hijacked." 

    Egyptian aviation authority says the flight is an Airbus jet, it was supposed to fly from Alexandria to Cairo on Tuesday morning. The airline says four foreigners and the flight crew remain on board after negotiations.
    2 hours ago
    Egyptian state media are naming the hijacker as Egyptian national Ibrahim Samaha, 27 or 28 years old and sat in seat 38K on the plane. 

    His motive remains unclear, though some officials are apparently saying he was seeking "political asylum". This is a tweet to that effect from the official account of Egyptian MP Mustafa Bakry:
    3 hours ago
    EgyptAir has downgraded the number of foreigners still on board the plane to four, plus the flight crew.
    3 hours ago
    The incident involves one hijacker and he or she is yet to make any demands, according to a Cypriot foreign ministry official.

    Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Alexandros Zenon told French iTele television: "The information we have so far is that it is one hijacker. The person has yet to make any demands."
    3 hours ago
    Aviation sources have told Reuters there were eight British nationals and 10 Americans on board the flight. It's not known how many were among those released.
    3 hours ago
    EgyptAir says the release of those people, thought to number around 76, comes after negotiations between the hijacker or hijackers and police.
    3 hours ago
    Breaking: All people on board have been released by hijackers except for the flight crew and five foreigners - EgyptAir.
    3 hours ago
    Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry has also confirmed the pilot was threatened by a passenger strapped with explosives.
    3 hours ago
    Israel scrambled warplanes in its airspace as a precaution in response to the plane hijacking, according to an Israeli military source.
    3 hours ago
    Various media reports are quoting sources at the airport in Larnaca as saying some people are disembarking the plane.

    It follows that reported request from the hijackers that women and children be allowed to leave the plane, and for police to move back.

    All flights in and out of Larnaca have been cancelled, while police set up a crisis response team.
    3 hours ago
    EgyptAir has confirmed in a series of tweets that its plane was hijacked by a man "in possession of a suicide vest".

    The airline confirmed 81 passengers were on board, and said the AIrbus A320 had landed at Larnaca as was previously reported.

    The hijacker was negotiating with police, it said.
    3 hours ago
    Egyptian plane with 82 passengers on board 'hijacked'
    The IndependentAn Egyptian passenger plane has landed in Cyprus after reportedly being hijacked on its journey to Cairo. EgyptAir Flight 181 was was on a scheduled journey from Alexandria when it veered off course on Tuesday morning. Androulla Vassiliou, the Cypriot former European Commissioner for Education, wrote on Twitter that the plane landed shortly before 7am.
    3 hours ago
    Good morning and welcome to our live blog on the hijacking of a passenger plane. EgyptAir flight 181 veered off its scheduled course from Alexandra to Cairo this morning and has since landed in Cyprus.

Please allow a moment for the live blog to load

EgyptAir Flight 181 was was on a scheduled journey from Alexandria when it veered off course on Tuesday morning.

Androulla Vassiliou, the Cypriot former European Commissioner for Education, wrote on Twitter that the plane landed shortly before 7am.

Satellite data recorded by the Flight Aware website showed the Airbus A320 took off from Borg El Arab Airport as scheduled.

EgyptAir confirmed its plane, numbered MS181, had been “officially hijacked”.
EgyptAir flight 181: Passenger claiming to have suicide bomb hijacks plane from Alexandria to Cairo - latest updates EgyptAir flight 181: Passenger claiming to have suicide bomb hijacks plane from Alexandria to Cairo - latest updates Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 3:44 PM Rating: 5

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