Cypriot officials informed the Egyptian crisis management group that there are no explosives on the EgyptAir plane that was hijacked on Tuesday morning.
The hijacker is still holding the plane crew and four foreign passengers hostage following negotiations that resulted in freeing the rest of the 56 passengers. Until now, there are conflicting reports over the number of freed passengers and the total number of people who were on the hijacked plane when it departed from Alexandria.
The plane was scheduled to fly from Borg Al-Arab in Alexandria to Cairo International Airport before a hijacker who claimed to be wearing an explosive belt demanded that pilot Omar Al-Gamal reroute.
Samaha first demanded the pilot to head to Turkey, but the pilot convinced him that there is not enough fuel to afford this route, according to a family member of the pilot. The plane landed in the Cypriot airport at 8.50am.
The Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades told reporters that “at least 49 passengers were freed. We are doing our utmost in order for everyone to be released”.
“In any case it is [the hijacking] not something which has to do with terrorism,” he added.
Sources told Daily News Egypt that Samaha demanded political asylum to Cyprus and also requested an interpreter. The Cypriot media reported that he threw a letter outside the aeroplane that he wished to be delivered to his ex-wife who resides in Cyprus.