BREAKING: EgyptAir hijacker has been arrested

A man claiming to be wearing an explosive vest hijacked an EgyptAir plane early Tuesday, forcing it to land in Larnaca, on the southern coast of Cyprus, before he was arrested, the Cypriot government has just announced.

“It’s over,” the Cypriot Foreign Ministry announced at 2:41 p.m.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the hijacker was Egyptian and had asked to meet EU officials and fly to other airports.

Most of the 56 passengers were released after the flight was diverted, while en route to Cairo from Alexandria. But a tense standoff ensued for hours as the plane stayed on the tarmac, with the hijacker and seven or eight other people still on board. Then they were freed, and shortly afterward, the hijacker surrendered.

The hijacker, identified by Cypriot and Egyptian officials as Seif El Din Mustafa, told the pilot that he was wearing a suicide belt and threatened to detonate it. His affiliation and motivation were unclear.

But some Cypriot state media reports earlier said the man had given negotiators a letter demanding the release of prisoners from Egyptian jails, suggesting a political motivation.

Source: The New York Times & Sky News

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