UPDATE: Hijacker of EgyptAir plane released majority of passengers, in negotiations
A shot of Cypriot police beside the hijacked aircraft in Cyprus. (Twitter)
Fifty two passengers were freed from the hijacked EgyptAir plane that was rerouted on demands of hijacker from Alexandria to Larnaca in Cyprus.
Negotiations with the hijacker, named Ibrahim Samaha according to state media, resulted in freeing the passengers except for the plane crew and four foreign passengers, according to EgyptAir. Among the four remaining passengers, some are believed to be British citizens.
The plane was planned to fly from Borg Al-Arab in Alexandria to Cairo International Airport before a hijacker who claimed to be wearing an explosive belt demanded pilot Omar Al-Gamal reroute to Laranca.
Samaha first demanded the pilot head to Turkey, but the pilot convinced him that there is not enough fuel to take this route, according to a family member of the pilot. The plane landed in the Cypriot airport at 8:50.
Futher reports suggest the hijacker, now reported to be Egyptian, handed over a letter requesting to live in Cyprus with his ex-wife.
Authorities have closed Larnaca airport and diverted flights to Paphos.
Egyptian airport security has been under heavy scrutiny since the Russian airliner was downed in late October, killing 224 people on board.