Boeing airplane (illustration)
Boeing airplane (illustration) Thinkstock

EgyptAir flight MS181 was hijacked shortly after taking off from Alexandria. It is now on the ground in Cyprus after landing at Larnaca Airport.

The plane is an A320 model and Cypriot news says there were 81 passengers on board. It was originally scheduled to fly from Alexandria to Cairo.

The single hijacker, who has been named as Egyptian citizen Seif Eldin Mustafa, is believed to have entered the cockpit while wearing an explosive vest. He then forced the pilots to divert the plane.

He took control of the plane in an attempt to meet with his estranged ex-wife, who lives in Cyprus. The ex-wife, named Marina Parashkou, has been brought to the airport to participate in negotiations.

"It’s all to do with a woman," says Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades, insisting that the incident is not related to terror. "We are doing everything to release the hostages."

Mustafa was holding the cabin crew and four "foreign" passengers. The initial passenger list included eight people from the US, four from the UK, four from Denmark, two Belgians and one Italian.

Hours after the standoff began, the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Cyprus confirmed that Mustafa has been arrested and that the crisis is over.