Cyprus, March 29: It seems that there is a lot of confusion about what happened with the EgyptAir flight MS181, which was hijacked by a supposedly armed assailant on board the flight. Cypriot media had identified the man as Ibrahim Samaha. However, as the situation unfolded the hijacking turned out to be ‘personally motivated’ with the hijacker wanting to meet his estranged wife, who happened to be living in Cyprus. Now, Samaha has come forward and defended himself saying that he is just a passenger.
Samaha told BBC that he is actually a passenger of the flight and not the hijacker. Samaha, who is an Egyptian national and a professor at the Egyptain University, and he told the channel, “We did not know what was going on.” He defended himself indicating that the media had wrongly identified him as the hijacker and said, “We got aboard the plane and we were surprised that the crew took all our passports, which is unusual for a domestic flight. After a while we realised that the altitude is getting higher.” Also Read: EgyptAir flight MS181 hijack LIVE UPDATES
“Then we knew we were heading to Cyprus. At first the crew told us there was a problem with the plane, and only later we knew it was hijacked”, he added. Earlier reports in the media has suggested that he was the hijacker and the Cypriot state television had said that he was a 27 or 28 year-old and he had threatened the pilot with a suicide belt, before directing that the plane be directed to either Turkey or Cyprus.
After the plane landed at Larnaca Airport at Cyprus, he had reportedly thrown a letter on the airport tarmac, demanding that it be delivered to his wife, who lives on the island. Cypriot President had soon released a statement saying that the hijack was not terror-related and seems to be the work of a jilted husband, resulting from a dispute with his wife.
Seven people are still held hostage on the plane, including four crew members and three passengers, whose nationalities are unknown. Now, the Ministry has revealed a new name of the hijacker- Seif El Deen Mostafa. More information about the same is awaited.