Police negotiators on Tuesday were trying to convince a man who may be armed with an explosive belt to surrender after hijacking an Egypt Air flight from Alexandria to Cairo and rerouting it to Cyprus, where he asked to be put into contact with his ex-wife.
The suspect has been identified by Cypriot authorities as 59-year-old Seif Eldin Mustafa and is reportedly a veterinary professor in Egypt. Authorities also said that he appears to be in a fragile mental state and has been deteriorating since the standoff began on Tuesday morning.
The hijacker initially agreed to release most of the passengers on the plane, keeping as hostage the crew and three or four non-Egyptian nationals, as he waited for authorities to contact a woman he claimed was his estranged wife.
Cypriot media have just reported that they saw four people climbing out of the craft’s cockpit window and running away.