All hostages have been released from the hijacked EgyptAir plane and the hijacker has been arrested, Cyprus’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and EgyptAir announced via Twitter.
Official sources at EGYPTAIR declared the release of all the hostages and the arrest of the hijacker. #EgyptAir
— EGYPTAIR (@EGYPTAIR) March 29, 2016
Videos of the plane on the runway showed the remaining hostages fleeing from the plane in two groups. The first group of four people included three who departed via the plane exit door and one man who could be seen climbing out of the cockpit window. The second group included three people who ran out from the plane door.
— RT (@RT_com) March 29, 2016
Photos emerged earlier showing the hijacker wearing a white belt around his waist. Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathy had said during a press conference that authorities remained unsure whether the alleged suicide belt was real but that security officials were treating the threat as real.
The hijacker’s specific demands remain unclear; initial reports had claimed that he was attempting to reach his Cypriot ex-wife but Cyprus’ state broadcasting later reported that the hijacker demanded the release of prisoners in Egypt.
EgyptAir flight MS181 was en route to Cairo from Alexandria’s Borg Al-Arab at around 7 am on Tuesday when the hijacker began to demand that the plane land in Turkey or Cyprus and threatened to detonate a suicide belt.
Upon the plane’s landing in Cyprus’ Larnaca airport, several passengers were released but the pilot, three foreign passengers and some crew members remained onboard for some time while negotiations with the hijacker were underway.
This story is developing.