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Cyprus says EgyptAir hijacker appeared 'psychologically unstable'

Published:Tuesday | March 29, 2016 | 11:23 AM
A man leaves the hijacked aircraft of Egyptair at Larnaca airport in Cyprus today.

Cyprus' foreign minister says the Egyptian who hijacked a domestic EgyptAir flight and diverted it to the island nation appeared to be "psychologically unstable".

Ioannis Kasoulides tells reporters it was clear from the beginning of the hijacking today that it was not an act of terrorism, "despite the fact that the individual appeared to be dangerous in terms of his behavior".

The hijacker surrendered and was arrested after several hours, and all passengers and crew left the plane unharmed.

Kasoulides says the hijacker made several demands, including the release of Egyptian female prisoners, but that "his demands made no sense or were too incoherent to be taken seriously."

He says the hijacker also asked to speak to his ex-wife, a Cypriot woman, and wanted to deliver a letter to her. Kasoulides says the contents of the letter "were also incoherent".

Egyptian Ambassador Hussein Abdelkarim Mubarak, appearing at the same press conference, praised the close coordination between the two countries and said the hijacker was psychologically unstable and had "family problems".