Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister says authorities have yet to identify “equipment” from the hijacker of an EgyptAir flight that was diverted to Cyprus, but that the incident is being treated as “real threat” nonetheless.
CAIRO, EGYPT (MARCH 29, 2016) (REUTERS) – Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister said on Tuesday (March 29) that any “equipment” from a person who hijacked an EgyptAir flight was yet to be identified, but that the incident, which saw the plane diverted to Cyprus, was being treated as a “real threat” nonetheless.
“We don’t know yet how he got to, how do you call it, get the equipment he has, and we don’t know whether the equipment is true or real or not,” Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathy said at a news conference in Cairo.
“We are not sure whether what he has is a true bomb or threat to the aircraft, but we’re dealing with it as a real threat.”
Cypriot state media said that the hijacker was demanding the release of women prisoners in Egypt.
Fathy said after the aircraft landed at Larnaca airport, the hijacker released everyone onboard except three passengers and four crew following negotiations. He declined to give their nationalities.
Eighty-one people, including 21 foreigners and 15 crew, had been onboard the Airbus 320, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.
Fathy defended the airport security team, and said security concerns will be addressed after more investigations.
While the reasons for the hijacking were not entirely clear, the incident will deal another blow to Egypt’s tourism industry.