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Libyan Plane With 111 Passengers Hijacked, Diverted To Malta, All Passengers Released

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SAN FRANCISCO, December 23, (THEWILL) – Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has confirmed that all the 111 passengers aboard the Libyan plane that was hijacked have been released.

THEWILL recalls that an airliner on an internal flight in Libya was hijacked early Friday, by a man claiming to have a hand grenade, and diverted to Malta, where it landed with 118 people on board – including seven crew members.

The aircraft had been flying from Sebha in southwest Libya to Tripoli for state-owned Afriqiyah Airways, a route that would usually take a little over two hours.

The hijacker had told crew he was “pro-Gaddafi” and that he was willing to let all the passengers leave the Airbus A320, but not with its seven crew, if his demands were met.

The captain of the plane informed the control tower that its hijackers are threatening to blow it up with a home-made explosive device adding that it was unclear what the demands were or whether the hijacker was acting alone.

Troops took up positions a few hundred metres from the plane as it stood on the tarmac while negotiations ensured with the hijacker as all other flights at Malta International Airport were cancelled or diverted.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed that the passengers included 82 men, 28 women and one infant adding that the security and emergency operations were still on standby for the release of the crew members.

Story by Oputah David