Egypt Hijacker's Motive May Be 'Love'

It's now over: He's under arrest
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2016 2:08 AM CDT
Updated Mar 29, 2016 6:30 AM CDT
Egyptian Plane Hijacked
A bus carries passengers from the hijacked EgyptAir aircraft after it landed at Larnaca airport on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

An EgyptAir plane with about 60 people aboard was hijacked Tuesday while flying from the coastal city of Alexandria to Cairo, and then forced to land in Cyprus, reports the AP. Fortunately, it appears to have ended without violence after hours of negotiations, with all aboard freed and the hijacker arrested. Details were still emerging about his motivation, but Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades previously said it was "not something that has to do with terrorism," reports the AP, and a Cyprus government official said the man "seems (to be) in love." A civil aviation official said the man gave negotiators the name of a woman who lives in Cyprus and asked to give her an envelope. It's unclear what relationship she and the man have, but some reports say she is his estranged wife. Asked whether the hijacking involved romance, the Cyprian president laughed and said, "Always, there is a woman involved."

However, much confusion surrounded the incident, with the BBC citing reports that he had asked for the release of female prisoners in Egypt. There was also some confusion about the identity of the hijacker, who reportedly claimed to have explosives on him and had allowed most of the passengers to leave the plane upon landing. At a news conference prior to the arrest, Egypt's Civil Aviation minister refused to identify him. Earlier, an Egyptian government spokesman offered up a name, but an Egyptian woman who identified herself as his wife said her husband is not the hijacker and was on his way to Cairo so he could fly to the US to attend a conference. Flight MS181 took off from the Mediterranean city of Alexandria with at least 55 passengers, including 26 foreigners, and a seven-member crew. (More Egypt stories.)

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