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EgyptAir Plane on Route to Cairo Hijacked and Diverted to Cyprus

A screenshot from Flight Radar showing the hijacked flight MS181 at Larnaca Airport in Cyrus

A screenshot from Flight Radar showing the hijacked flight MS181 at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus

Update 29/03/2016 14:10 UTC: Authorities identified and arrested the suspected hijacker as Seif Eldin Mustafa, an Egyptian living in Cyprus. Some media reports earlier in the day cited a different man, Ibrahim Samaha, as the suspect, but he was merely a passenger on the plane.

A lone hijacker has reportedly hijacked an Egypt Air flight en route from Alexandria to Cairo, forcing the flight to be diverted to Larnaca Airport in Cyprus after claiming he was wearing an explosive belt. On Twitter, netizens and pundits are closely following the news as it develops.

According to a tweet by EgyptAir, Flight MS181, which had 81 passengers on board, including foreigners, was “officially hijacked.”

This tweet has been tweeted about 12K times at the time of writing this post.

In follow up tweets, in Arabic, the airline explains:

EgyptAir Airbus plane 181, which has 81 passengers on board, and en route from Burj Al Arab airport in Alexandria to Cairo Airport has been hijacked

It continues:

It's Captain Omar Al Jammal was informed of a threat from a passenger with an explosive belt in his possession and he forced the captain to land the plane in Larnaca Airport in Cyprus

It's latest update says:

According to press reports, the passengers included Egyptians, “eight Americans, four Dutch, two Belgians, four Britons, one Syrian, one French and one Italian.”

The identity and nationality of the remaining passengers, who have not been released, is not known.

Egyptian humour

And no post on Egypt is complete without a dose of Egyptian humour – even when it is not warranted. Many joked that the passengers were lucky to find themselves out of Egypt.

Shahi tweets:

The EgyptAir passengers express their extreme happiness for hijacking them and thank the hijackers upon their arrival in Cyprus for getting them out of Egypt

And Mohamed Sleem adds:

Bet you if they had announced that this plane would have been hijacked and that the passengers would be diverted to Cyprus and that they could live there that the bookings on this flight would have been historic?

But Ahmed Hamato is naturally not happy with all those jokes:

How cheap of people on Twitter to joke and make fun of this catastrophe. The plane which was hijacked is an Egyptian plane and we are cheapening ourselves by doing this

Hijacking is so 80s

Ahmed Nimer, from Ramallah, Palestine, quips:

And blogger Josh Shahryar adds:

Stay tuned for more updates.

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