Egypt asks Cypriot authorities to hand over plane hijacker

Cairo, March 31 (IANS) Egypt’s public prosecution officially asked Cypriot authorities on Wednesday to extradite a national who hijacked and forced an Egyptian plane to land at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus on Tuesday, media reports said.

The prosecution sent an official letter to the authorities in Cyprus, demanding the handing over of the highjacker for interrogation, state-run MENA news agency reported, according to Xinhua.

EgyptAir’s Airbus 320 was in a domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo when it was hijacked by Seif-Eddin Mostafa, a 59-year-old Egyptian, who wore a fake explosive belt and forced the crew to land in Larnaca Airport.

Mostafa, who is held now by Cypriot police, surrendered six hours after he seized the plane.

All the 81 passengers, including 21 foreigners, were released unharmed and returned to Egypt on Tuesday.

Egyptian officials said the incident was not terror-related and that the hijacker was “a fraudulent and a forger” who faced relevant charges in lawsuits.

Egypt’s interior ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the man had a Cypriot ex-wife, adding he had been sentenced to one year in jail but escaped during the 2011 political turmoil, then went back to prison in January 2014 and was released last year.

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