The Latest: Hijacked passenger: We thought we would die


LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) — The Latest on the plane hijacking from Alexandria, Egypt, to Cyprus. (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

An Italian passenger on the hijacked EgyptAir flight had three words for the experience: “Fear, fear, fear.”

Andrea Banchetti spoke to Italian state radio and still appeared shaken when interviewed by Italian state TV.

He says at first he thought he had gotten on the wrong flight Tuesday because it was taking too long to go from Alexandria to Cairo. Then, after the hijacked plane landed in Cyprus, Banchetti says non-Westerns got their passports back and were allowed off the plane. Five foreign passengers, however, were ordered to stay: himself, two Scotsmen, an Englishman and a Dutchman.

At that point, he says “we looked each other in the eyes and we said, ‘Here we are. We’re at the end of the line. It’s over.'”

The self-confessed hijacker, 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa of Egypt, is in custody in Cyprus.

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6:10 p.m.

An EgyptAir stewardess says the man who hijacked her plane checked passengers’ passports to find out who was not an Arab.

Rouida Ihab told The Associated Press that the hijacker “wanted the foreigners … only foreigners. He didn’t want Egyptians or double nationalities.”

She also says the initial confusion about his identity came about because the hijacker was sitting in a seat that had been assigned to another passenger.

Authorities say Seif Eddin Mustafa, a 59-year-old Egyptian, has admitted hijacking a domestic EgyptAir flight Tuesday and diverting it to Cyprus by threatening to blow it up with a fake explosives belt. He has been detained in Cyprus.

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3 p.m.

Egypt has asked Cyprus to extradite the Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir plane.

The request came hours after a Cyprus court on Wednesday ordered eight days of detention for

59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa, who faces charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping and threats to commit violence.

Authorities say Mustafa has admitted to hijacking a domestic EgyptAir flight Tuesday and diverting it to Cyprus by threatening to blow it up with a fake explosives belt.

Egyptian General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek’s office says he has asked Cyprus to “take necessary measures to extradite Mustafa in order to start an investigation,” according to a statement.

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12:15 p.m.

A British man who was pictured with a man who hijacked an EgyptAir plane says he’s not sure why he posed for the bizarre photo.

Ben Innes told The Sun newspaper he wanted to take “the selfie of a lifetime” while the hijack was unfolding at a Cyprus airport.

The photo of Innes standing next to the hijacker with what looked like an exposed suicide vest went viral on social media within hours. The vest turned out to be fake and all the plane’s passengers and crew were released unharmed Tuesday. The hijacker has been arrested.

Innes, 26, told the newspaper in a story published Wednesday that he had been texting his mother throughout the ordeal. He says “I figured if his bomb was real I’d nothing to lose anyway.”

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11:45 a.m.

A Cyprus court on Wednesday ordered the detention for eight days of an Egyptian man who admitted to hijacking a domestic EgyptAir flight and diverting it to the east Mediterranean island nation by threatening to blow it up with a fake explosives belt.

Police prosecutor Andreas Lambrianou said the suspect, whom Cypriot and Egyptian authorities had earlier identified as 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa, faces charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping and threats to commit violence.

Judge Maria Loizou said she found the police’s request for the maximum eight-day detention necessary because of fears that the suspect might flee and the fact that he admitted to the hijacking in a voluntary statement to police.

Tuesday’s dramatic hijacking ended peacefully when police arrested the suspect after all 72 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus A320 plane were released.