News / Middle East

    EgyptAir Hijack Suspect Remanded for 8 Days Pending Investigation

    EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa, second left, is escorted by Cyprus police officers as he leaves a court after a remand hearing as authorities investigate him on charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives and abduction in the Cypriot coastal town of Larnaca Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Mustafa described as "psychologically unstable" hijacked a flight Tuesday from Egypt to Cyprus and threatened to blow it up. His explosives turned out to be fake, and he surrendered with all passengers released unharmed after a bizarre six-hour standoff.
    EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa, second left, is escorted by Cyprus police officers as he leaves a court after a remand hearing as authorities investigate him on charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives and abduction in the Cypriot coastal town of Larnaca Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Mustafa described as "psychologically unstable" hijacked a flight Tuesday from Egypt to Cyprus and threatened to blow it up. His explosives turned out to be fake, and he surrendered with all passengers released unharmed after a bizarre six-hour standoff.
    VOA News

    A court in Cyprus ordered a man suspected of hijacking an EgyptAir flight and diverting it to the island nation remanded in custody for eight days pending an investigation.

    He is held on suspicion of hijacking, abduction, threatening violence, terrorism-related offenses and two counts related to possession of explosives.

    Egypt has asked Cyprus to extradite the man, identified as Seif Eddin Mustafa, 59 and described him as mentally unstable.
     

    A bus carrying some passengers from the hijacked EgyptAir aircraft as it landed at Larnaca airport, March 29, 2016.
    A bus carrying some passengers from the hijacked EgyptAir aircraft as it landed at Larnaca airport, March 29, 2016.

    Following a tense, six hour standoff Tuesday Mustafa was arrested and admitted to Cypriot police that he acted because he had not seen his wife and children in 24 years.

    All 72 passengers and crew members onboard were released unharmed.

    Egyptian and Cyprus officials have said the incident was not terror related.

    Families and relatives of passengers on the hijacked flight waiting at Cairo airport, Tuesday, March 28, 2016. (H. Elrasam/VOA)
    Families and relatives of passengers on the hijacked flight waiting at Cairo airport, Tuesday, March 28, 2016. (H. Elrasam/VOA)

    Egyptian officials at first reported that the hijacker had threatened to blow up a suicide belt on the plane, which was headed from Alexandria to Cairo. Authorities later said the explosive belt was fake.

    Most of the 55 passengers on the EgyptAir flight were quickly released after it landed in Larnaca but it took hours of negotiations, including a conversation with his ex-wife, before Mustafa surrendered.

    Media interviews an Egyptair host who has just arrived from the hijacked flight at Cairo airport, Tuesday, March 28, 2016. (H. Elrasam/VOA)
    Media interviews an Egyptair host who has just arrived from the hijacked flight at Cairo airport, Tuesday, March 28, 2016. (H. Elrasam/VOA)

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