The man who hijacked an EgyptAir flight on Tuesday, terrifying the more than 50 people on board as he forced the plane to divert from its path for Cyprus, wasn’t a terrorist.
Nor was he a criminal seeking payment from the government in return for the safe return of its passengers.
The man, which the Cyprus Foreign Ministry identified as a 59-year-old Egyptian national named Seif Eldin Mustafa, was lovesick.
According to the president of Cyprus, the man hijacked the plane to see his estranged ex-wife.
Asked if the motivation was related to a woman, the president laughed, and said: “Always there is a woman.”
President Anastasiades added that the man “seems (to be) in love.”
However, Alexandros Zenon, Cyprus foreign ministry’s general director, called him”psychologically unstable.”
Mustafa reportedly handed the pilot a note that claimed he was wearing a suicide belt, which turned out to be fake, and demanded the flight be rerouted.
The hijacker also complained about the Egyptian government and demanded the release of female prisoners from Egyptian jails.
A Cypriot civil aviation official said the man gave negotiators the name of a woman who lives in Cyprus and asked to give her an envelope. It was not clear if she was his former wife.
The hijacker who seized the Egyptian airliner and forced it to land in Cyprus has been detained, Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said.
A man (R) believed to be the hijacker of the EgyptAir Airbus A-320, which was diverted to Cyprus, surrenders to security forces after a six-hour standoff on the tarmac at Larnaca airport’s largely disused old terminal on March 29, 2016.
Egypt’s Ministry of Interior released CCTV it says shows the man passing through airport security.