An EgyptAir flight scheduled to fly from Alexandria to Cairo this morning was hijacked and forced to land at Cyprus’ Larnaca Airport.

According to Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry, the hijacker was armed with an explosive belt and threatened the pilot to divert his route and land the plane at Larnaca Airport.

“The control tower at Larnaca Airport was informed at 8.30am that a plane from Egypt had been hijacked,” a police source told The Cyprus Weekly. “It landed at the airport at 8.50am.”

EgyptAir’s Twitter reported, “Negotiations with the Hijacker result in the release of all the passengers, except the crew and four foreigners.”

The EgyptAir flight MS181 had 81 passengers on board, and all 55 passengers released thus far are Egyptian nationals.

Cypriot officials are currently communicating with the hijacker and Cypriot anti-terrorism units have been deployed at Larnaca airport.

According to Reuters, Egypt’s state news agency MENA named the hijacker as an Egyptian national called Ibrahim Samaha.

This incident comes five months after the Russian airliner crash over Sinai which resulted in the death of all 224 passengers on board, shedding more scrutiny over Egyptian airport security.

The story is still developing.

Information gathered from Ahram Online, Egyptian Streets, Reuters, The Guardian, EgyptAir Twitter
Featured Image credit: Yiannis Kourtoglou (Reuters)