‘Always there is a woman involved’: Cyprus president laughs off EgyptAir hijacking

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades

Cyprus’ president appeared to laugh off an incident Tuesday morning in which an EgyptAir plane en route from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to make an emergency landing in Cyprus.

Initial reports indicated that the man suspected of hijacking the plane wanted to be put in touch with his ex-wife, who now lives in Cyprus and is a Cypriot national.

When asked if the incident was all “over a woman,” Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades laughed and said, “Always there is a woman involved.”

Anastasiades noted that the police were doing everything possible to put an end to the “unprecedented” incident – one that, “in any case, did not have any links to terrorism,” he said.

Egyptian officials did not seem highly alarmed by the situation, either, as attempts were made to talk with the hijacker and negotiate his hostages’ release earlier this morning.

Fifty-five people, including seven crew members, were aboard the flight when it left Alexandria, according toSherif Fa thy Ateyya, the Egyptian minister of civil aviation. They were all released safely after being held hostage, and the hijacker is now in police custody.

“He’s not a terrorist, he’s an idiot. Terrorists are crazy, but they aren’t stupid. This guy is,” an official at Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs told The Guardian.

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Witnesses said the hijacker threw a letter on the tarmac of the airport, written in Arabic, that he demanded be delivered to his ex-wife. But Cypriot media outlets later reported that he demanded Egypt release its female prisoners, the BBC reported.

Upon landing in Cyprus, the hijacker reportedly said he was strapped with explosives. But the suicide vest he said he was wearing turned out to be fake, Reuters reported.