CAIRO: A drunk Sudanese passenger unsuccessfully tried to hijack an EgyptAir flight from Istanbul to Cairo on Wednesday and divert it to Jerusalem to liberate the city, an Egyptian security official said.
About 30 minutes after take-off, the passenger took hold of a knife provided with meals for first-class passengers and threatened an air hostess of the Boeing 737 sitting next to him.
The 26-year-old said he wanted to liberate Jerusalem, a security official at Cairo airport told AFP.
But air marshals managed to overpower him and the 87 passengers were able to continue their flight unharmed.
A Cairo police official identified the suspect as Mohammed Hamad Nourain, 26, and said he used a passport with a phony name to board the flight.
The Egyptian MENA news agency also said the passenger was inebriated but a second airport official, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied this, saying: Nobody would say he was drunk.
It was not immediately clear if the man used a plastic or steel knife in his abortive hijack bid, however some reports confirm that it was plastic.
The man has been handed over for questioning.
All the passengers left the airport safely and the flight even landed on time, the head of civil aviation Imad Sallam said on television. -Agencies