Cypriot authorities asked me to take selfie with hijacker: EgyptAir flight attendant

Ahram Online , Friday 1 Apr 2016

Passengers evacuate a hijacked EgyptAir Airbus 320 plane at Larnaca airport, Cyprus, March 29, 2016 (Reuters)

A flight attendant on Tuesday's hijacked EgyptAir flight was asked to take a selfie picture with the hijacker by Cypriot authorities, according to Ahram Arabic news website.

Al-Ahram reported on Friday that flight attendant Yasmine Sobol told prosecutors she had been asked to take a picture with the hijacker during the flight in order to allow the Cypriot authorities to identify him.

Egyptian Seif El-Din Mustafa hijacked EgyptAir flight 181 from Alexandria to Cairo, diverting it to Cyprus and detaining those onboard for more than seven hours.

Egyptian officials said that Mustafa, who was one of the passengers, initially demanded the plane land in Turkey. However, the officials added that the plane's fuel supply was insufficient to reach Istanbul and the pilot had to land in Larnaca airport.

Eventually Mustafa, who claimed he was wearing an explosive belt, surrendered to Cypriot authorities. No one on board was harmed.

"The hijacker suddenly got up from his seat and gave one of the flight attendants a paper which read: 'I have an explosive belt and I demand to go to Turkey or Cyprus,' " Sobol said.

"The pilot asked me to negotiate with the hijacker after we saw the explosive belt. We asked the hijacker why Cyprus specifically and he said that he wanted to see his children," she said.

On Wednesday, Mustafa was brought before a Cypriot judge, where he said that his desire to see his children, who are in the custody of his ex-wife in Cyprus, drove him to hijack the plane.

The court ordered he be held in detention for eight days.

Cypriot police said he faces charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping and threats to commit violence.

On Thursday, Egyptian prosecution officially requested Muxstafa be extradited.

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