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Between 30 and 40 passengers of hijacked Egyptair plane released in Larcana

By Reuters   March 28, 2016 | 11:14 pm PT
Between 30 and 40 passengers of hijacked Egyptair plane released in Larcana
A policeman stands guard at Larnaca Airport near a hijacked Egypt Air A320 , March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

CAIRO/ATHENS - EgyptAir said in a statement on Tuesday that only crew and four foreigners remained on a hijacked Egyptian plane that was forced to divert to Cyprus.

An Egyptair domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked on Tuesday and landed in Cyprus, Egyptian officials said.

The pilot of the plane was threatened by a passenger strapped with explosives, Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry said.

The Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation reported that 55 passengers were on board and a crew of seven. The hijacking occurred in Cyprus's flight information region and the airliner was diverted to Larnaca.

The plane was an Airbus 320, Egypt's aviation ministry said.

The ministry in a statement that pilot Omar al-Gammal had informed authorities that he was threatened by a passenger who possessed a suicide belt and forced him to land in Larnaca.

CYBC said the airplane was parked at an apron at Larnaca airport. The hijacker asked police to back away from the aircraft, it said.

Israel scrambled warplanes in its airspace as a precaution in response to the plane hijacking, according to an Israeli military source.

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