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Plane hijackings in past decade

  • Published at 11:26 pm December 24th, 2016
Plane hijackings in past decade
Two men used fake weapons Friday to hijack a Libyan plane with 117 people on board and divert it to Malta, before releasing everyone and surrendering, officials said. The Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 was en route from Sabha in southern Libya to the capital Tripoli when it was taken over and forced to fly to Malta, sparking a four-hour runway standoff. While they were initially thought to have used a real grenade and at least one pistol to stage the hijacking, it later emerged that the pair used fake weapons, a Maltese government statement said. A Libyan official claimed the men had sought asylum, but Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said they had not. Other recent hijackings have been carried out by individuals for reasons ranging from personal to political, and almost all ended swiftly and safely. Here are examples from the past 10 years:

Wanted to see ex-wife

A man hijacks an EgyptAir flight on March 29, 2016 from Alexandria to Cairo with 55 passengers and crew onboard, and forces it to land in Cyprus so he can see his ex-wife. Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa, 58, is described as “psychologically unstable” and claims to have explosives strapped to his waist, but gives himself up after releasing fellow travellers.

Asylum seeker

An Ethiopian Airlines flight to Rome with 202 people on board is diverted on February 17, 2014 by its unarmed copilot to Geneva where he asks for asylum. Hailemedehin Abera Tagegn is arrested, but Switzerland refuses an Ethiopian request for his extradition.

Drunk hijacker

A reportedly drunk man hijacks a flight on February 7, 2014 with 110 people on board from Ukraine’s second city Kharkov to Istanbul. He brandishes what he claims is a detonator and shouts “Let’s go to Sochi,” Russia, where the Winter Olympics opening ceremony is under way. The plane is escorted by Turkish F-16 jets to Istanbul where anti-terrorist commandos end the incident without any casualties.

Escape out the back

An Egyptian and a Turk who claim to be Al-Qaeda members hijack on August 18, 2007 an Istanbul-bound Atlasjet flight from the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus with 142 people on board and demand to fly to Iran or Syria. The pilots land in Antalya, Turkey to refuel, and while women and children are being freed by the front door, most of the other passengers escape through the rear. The rest are released several hours later when the hijackers surrender.

Message to the pope

An unarmed Turkish army deserter, Hakan Ekinci, seizes on October 3, 2006 a Turkish Airlines flight carrying 113 people from Tirana to Istanbul. The plane is forced by Greek and Italian jets to land in Brindisi, Italy. Ekinci had forced his way into the cockpit with a parcel that he said was a bomb, and wanted to send a message to Pope Benedict XVI. He claimed to be a Christian convert and a conscientious objector, and sought to avoid Turkey’s compulsory military service.
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