Suspect in Custody After Hijacking EgyptAir Flight
(CNN) The hijacking of a Cairo-bound EgyptAir flight that was diverted to Cyprus ended relatively peacefully Tuesday when the plane's crew and passengers safely left the aircraft and authorities took the hijacker into custody.
"The hijacker has just been arrested," Cyprus government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said on Twitter, adding a few minutes later, "All passengers and crew are safe."
Cyprus state television showed video of the hijacker, wearing a white shirt, being led away by a phalanx of police. Earlier, Homer Mavrommatis, director of the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs Crisis Management Center, had confirmed he was in custody.
Shortly before news of the arrest, video of the aircraft, which was parked on the tarmac at Cyprus' Larnaca International Airport, showed people leaving the plane, one through a window.
The incident began when an Egyptian man -- who presidential spokesman Alaa Yousuf identified as Seif El Din Mustafa -- allegedly hijacked the EgyptAir flight because of his ex-wife, forcing the plane to land in Cyprus, officials said Tuesday. The hijacking was not related to terrorism, a spokesman for the Cyprus Transport Ministry said.
The hijacker was "unstable," Mavrommatis told CNN. Egyptian authorities had been negotiating with the hijacker, but Mavrommatis said his motivation was not clear.
"He kept on changing his mind and asking for different things," Mavrommatis said.
The Airbus 320 was carrying at least 81 people, but many of the passengers and crew were released during the early stages of the ordeal, Egypt's Civil Aviation Ministry said.
March 29, 2016 7:04am
From CNN's Ian Lee in Cairo
“For the officials, it couldn’t have ended any better, with the hijacker now in custody.
“One of the passengers I spoke to, one woman said that the plane took off as normal, and she didn’t grow concerned until she looked out the window and saw the Mediterranean Sea.
“The crew then went to each of the passengers telling them there was a hijacking and to hand over their passports.”