Charlie Charalambous with Samer Al-Atrush in Cairo, AFP
Last updated: 29 March, 2016

Hijacked Egypt airliner lands in Cyprus, hijacker demands asylum

A hijacker who seized an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land in Cyprus has been detained, officials said on Tuesday.

“The hijacker has just been arrested,” Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Twitter, without providing further details.

A man emerged from the aircraft and then walked across the tarmac with his hands up to two awaiting counter-terrorism police officers, an AFP correspondent reported.

They laid him on the ground and searched him for around two minutes before taking him away.

The hijacker had claimed to be wearing an explosives belt when he took over the plane.

Police had yet to enter the aircraft 30 minutes after his surrender.

All the passengers and crew of the hijacked airliner are safe, Egypt’s civil aviation minister said.

“The passengers are safe and the crew is safe,” Sherif Fathy said on state television.