EgyptAir plane hijacking not terrorism-related, says Cyprus president


The hijacking of an Egyptian plane that was diverted to Cyprus is not related to terrorism, the island's president confirmed, as it emerged a man on board claiming he had a suicide belt was trying to contact his estranged wife.

There are fears that a number of Britons and an Irish national were aboard the EgyptAir plane which was diverted during an internal flight from Alexandria on Egypt's Mediterranean coast to the capital Cairo.

The plane, carrying 81 passengers and seven crew, landed at Larnaca airport in Cyprus where negotiations led to the release of everyone on board apart from the crew and four foreign passengers, the airline said.

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said the hijacking is "not something which has to do with terrorism" and that the government is doing its utmost to ensure the remaining passengers are safely released.

He added: "It's all to do with a woman. We are doing everything to release the hostages."

According to The Guardian, an official at Egypt's ministry of foreign affairs said: "He's not a terrorist, he's an idiot. Terrorists are crazy but they aren't stupid. This guy is."