‘Hijacker’ who diverted EgyptAir flight to Cyprus ‘wore fake suicide vest’


An alleged hijacker who forced an Egyptian plane to divert to Cyprus and took passengers and crew hostage was wearing a fake suicide vest, officials have confirmed.

The plane was carrying 56 passengers, including 26 foreigners, on an EgyptAir domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo when a man on board claimed to have an explosive belt.

An Irish national is thought to have been aboard the flight.

Most of those on board were freed shortly after the plane landed at Larnaca airport on the Mediterranean island at 8.50am, before the hijacker held seven people hostage for a number of hours.

The man was arrested minutes after some of those being held were seen walking down the stairs of the plane, with another escaping through a cockpit window before they were led away by security officers.

Officials revealed the explosive vest the man was apparently wearing was not real, the airline said.

EgyptAir said Cypriot authorities at the airport had confirmed “the explosive belt that the hijacker allegedly said that he was wearing is fake”.

Pictures posted on the official Facebook page of Egypt’s Ministry of Interior appears to show the hijacker passing through security before boarding the flight.

The man, circled in red, can be seen loading his bag to be scanned and calmly walking through a detector. He is then frisked by a security official before collecting his bag and walking off.

Another image posted on the page shows a scan taken of his bag, which appears largely empty.

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