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Hijacked Egyptian airliner lands in Cyprus: police

Larnaca, Cyprus | March 29, 2016, Tuesday @ 12:13 in World » GENERAL | By: AFP | Views: 2187
Hijacked Egyptian airliner lands in Cyprus: police

An Egypt Air Airbus A-320 sits on the tarmac of Larnaca aiport after it was hijacked and diverted to Cyprus on March 29, 2016.(STR / AFP)

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(AFP) - A hijacker seized an Egyptian airliner on Tuesday and diverted it to Cyprus, triggering a hostage crisis at Larnaca airport on the south coast, Cypriot police said.

Egyptian civil aviation said the hijacker had threatened to detonate an explosives belt.

The hijacker contacted the control tower at 8:30 am (0530 GMT) and the plane was given permission to land at 8:50 am, Cyprus police said.

A crisis team was deployed to the airport, the main entry point for tourists to the Mediterranean resort island.

The hijacker made no immediate demands and later allowed Egyptian passengers to disembark, Cypriot state television reported.

The Egypt Air plane was headed from the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria to Cairo with 81 passengers on board when it was seized, Egyptian civil aviation said.

The airline tweeted: "Our Flight MS181 is officially hijacked, we’ll publish an official statement now."

Following the incident, Cyprus on Tuesday closed Larnaca airport after a hijacker seized an Egyptian airliner and forced it to land on the eastern Mediterranean island, airport officials said.

Flights to Larnaca in the south were diverted to the Paphos airport in the west, the officials said, after Egyptian civil aviation said the hijacker had threatened to detonate an explosives belt on the EgyptAir plane.

Larnaca is no stranger to hostage crises. Several hijacked planes were diverted to the airport in the 1970s and 1980s.

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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