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Egyptian commercial flight makes emergency landing in Cyprus after being hijacked

9News.com.au 9News.com.au 29/03/2016
A bus carrying some passengers from the hijacked EgyptAir aircraft as it landed at Larnaca airport Tuesday, March 29, 2016. The EgyptAir plane was hijacked on Tuesday while flying from the Egyptian Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria to the capital, Cairo, and later landed in Cyprus where some of the women and children were allowed to get off the aircraft, according to Egyptian and Cypriot officials. © AP Photo/Petros Karadjias A bus carrying some passengers from the hijacked EgyptAir aircraft as it landed at Larnaca airport Tuesday, March 29, 2016. The EgyptAir plane was hijacked on Tuesday while flying from the Egyptian Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria to the capital, Cairo, and later landed in Cyprus where some of the women and children were allowed to get off the aircraft, according to Egyptian and Cypriot officials.

An Egyptian commercial airliner has made an emergency landing in Cyprus after being hijacked by a man claiming to be wearing an explosives belt.

Airliner EgyptAir has confirmed flight MS181 was hijacked and has landed at Larnaca airport in southern Cyprus.

Officials say four cabin crew and three foreign passengers remain on board the aircraft, with all other people released by the hijacker.

Cypriot media has reported the hijacker claims to have explosives strapped to his body and has demanded his estranged wife, who lives in Cyprus, be brought to the plane.

The man is also seeking political asylum in Cyprus, according to media reports.

Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades has said the incident is not believed to be terrorist-related.

Police have been asked to move away from the aircraft on the tarmac.

The jet was flying from Alexandria to Cairo when it was hijacked.

The Airbus A320 had 55 passengers and seven crew on board, Egypt's civil aviation authority said, revising an earlier estimate of 82.

Cypriot police said the hijacker contacted a traffic control tower at 8.30am local time (4.30pm AEDT) and the plane was given permission to land 20 minutes later.

A crisis team has been deployed to the airport.

Larnaca airport, located on Cyprus' southern coast, has been closed until further notice.

All flights to Cyprus have been diverted to Paphos in the west of the island.

Israel scrambled warplanes in its airspace as a precaution in response to the hijacking, according to an Israeli military source.

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