Seif Eldin Mustafa, 59, hijacked an EgyptAir flight using a fake bomb. The flight was redirected to Cyprus and the incident ended after a six hour standoff. The EgyptAir flight was supposed to be a short 28 minute flight from Alexandria to Cairo.
The hijacker took over the flight fifteen minutes after departing Alexandria. He approached a flight attendant and showed off the explosives belt and attached remote control he held in his hand.
“The suspect asked all passengers and crew to hand in their passports, then gave two messages to a member of the crew, asking that the pilot be informed that he was a hijacker and wanted to land at an airport in Turkey, Greece or Cyprus, but preferably Cyprus,” a Cyprus investigating officer said.
“In a note, he stressed that if the airplane landed on Egyptian territory he would immediately blow the plane up.”
The hijacker dropped a note on the runway with a letter addressed to his ex-wife. In the note he demanded the release of 63 female prisoners held in Egypt. He told Cyprus police: “When someone hasn’t see his family for 24 years and wants to see his wife and children, and the Egyptian government doesn’t allow it, what should one do?
The EgyptAir hijacker used a fake bomb made from iPhone covers bound together with cloth and wires. Mustafa had fashioned a fake remote to make the bomb more convincing.
During the standoff, Mustafa released all but three of the passengers and the crew of four. One of the passengers, Ben Innes decided to get a closer look at the device worn by the hijacker.
Ben Innes, 26 of Aberdeen, England convinced one of the crew to take a photo of him with their captor. Fearful the bomb might be real, Innes said, “I’m not sure why I did it, I just threw caution to the wind while trying to stay cheerful in the face of adversity. I figured if his bomb was real I’d nothing to lose anyway, so took a chance to get a closer look at it.
“I got one of the cabin crew to translate for me and asked him if I could do a selfie with him. He just shrugged OK, so I stood by him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap. It has to be the best selfie ever.”
He was later released unharmed with the last of the hostages.
— Paul Smith (@Journo_Paul) March 29, 2016