Egyptians react to hijacking of EgyptAir plane

Egyptians react to hijacking of EgyptAir plane
2 min read
29 Mar, 2016
Social media users express their opinions and comment on a Cairo-bound EgyptAir flight that was hijacked earlier on Tuesday and forced to land in Cyprus.
The Cairo-bound plane was hijacked shortly after take-off from Borg el-Arab Airport [AFP]

People from Egypt and across the world have taken to social media to comment on the curious circumstances surrounding the "non-terror-linked" hijacking of EgyptAir flight number MS181 on Tuesday morning.

The Cairo-bound plane was hijacked shortly after take-off from Borg el-Arab Airport in Egypt's Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

The hijacker, identified as Egyptian-American Seif al-Din Mostafa, forced the pilot to divert the flight and land in Larnaca Airport in Cyprus after threatening to detonate his apparently fake suicide vest.

Most passengers were allowed to disembark in Cyprus, while the plane's captain, an assistant, an airhostess and a security officer remained on board, along with three passengers, Egypt's civil aviation minister said in a press conference. They were later freed and the ordeal came to an end with the arrest of the hijacker.

Earlier this morning, an Egyptian foreign ministry official described the hijacker as "an idiot" following reports that he appeared to have seized the plane as part of a bizarre dispute with his ex-wife.

Social media users mocked the idea of a love-struck hijacker, particularly after reports of his demand to deliver a letter to his Cypriot ex-wife.

A few hours later, the situation ended with the surrender and arrest of the hijacker, as well as the release of the remaining hostages.

However, other users pointed out the poor condition of airport security in Egypt, and how easy it was for the hijacker to board the plane wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest.

The hijacking will most likely bring to the fore again the question of security at Egyptian airports, five months after a Russian aircraft crashed over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula minutes after it took off from Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

All 224 people on board were killed in the crash.

Russia later said an explosive device brought down the aircraft and the extremist Islamic State group said it downed the plane.