Seven people are being held hostage aboard an EgyptAir plane that was forced to divert to Larnaca airport in Cyprus.

Most of the passengers and crew aboard EgyptAir Flight MS181 were freed shortly after the plane landed in Cyprus, but the pilot, the co-pilot, a female stewardess, a security officer, and three passengers remain on board the aircraft.

EgyptAir said the Airbus A320 was carrying 56 passengers en route from Alexandria to Cairo, along with six crew and a security official.

Early reports talk of a lone hijacker who claims to be wearing a suicide belt, but it is unclear whether he is wearing an explosive belt or bluffing.

His demands remain unclear.

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades has said the hijack is not a terrorist incident and in response to a question from a reporter whether the hijacker was motivated by romance, he laughed and said:

“Always there is a woman involved.”

Larnaca airport has been closed while the events unfold, and all flights diverted elsewhere.


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