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Hijackers Of Libyan Afriqiyah Airways Jet Had Fake Guns And Grenade

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The pair who seized the plane used replica
pistols, says Malta’s PM, as all the passengers
are released unharmed.

Two men who hijacked an aircraft and
threatened to blow it up had a grenade and
guns that were both fake. The pair
surrendered peacefully after several hours of
negotiations at Malta International Airport,
where the internal Libyan flight had been
diverted. The hijackers, named as Libyans
Suhah Mussa and Ahmed Ali, gave
themselves up after allowing passengers and
then some crew off the Afriqiyah Airways jet.
The pair, believed to be aged in their
twenties, later left the plane with the rest of
the crew.

Maltese soldiers found a second pistol when
they searched the aircraft.
The Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat,
said their weapons had been examined and
were found to be replicas. The hijackers were
arrested by Maltese forces

The Airbus A320, with 111 passengers and
six crew on board, was travelling from the
Libyan city of Sabha to the capital Tripoli
when it was forced to land in Malta on Friday
morning.

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The hijackers initially wanted the plane to be
flown to Rome but it ended up in Malta due
to fuel limitations. All flights to the airport were immediately diverted.

Mr Muscat said his government had told the
hijackers to release all the passengers before
there could be any talks. He said: “This
request was negotiated and eventually
accepted, and passengers were released in
consecutive groups.

Some of the passengers leave the jet after
being released In a series of tweets, Mr Muscat said 65 people had been allowed to leave, then
another 44, including some crew, followed by
the hijackers and the final crew members.
The passengers were being questioned by
police and will then return to Libya on another Afriqiyah Airways jet, while the hijackers are being interrogated.

At one point during the hijacking a man,
believed to be one of the perpetrators, briefly
appeared with a plain green flag at the top of
steps outside the aircraft. A man, believed to
be one of the hijackers, pictured with a Gaddafi-era Libyan flag. The flag was thought to be of Libya when it was ruled by former dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The plane’s pilot Ali Milad told Libyan TV the
hijackers had been seeking political asylum in
Europe and wanted to set up a political party
called “the New Fateh”. But the Maltese prime minister said the pair had not issued any demands.

Fateh is a reference to Gaddafi, who led the
Fateh revolution after his coup in 1969 and
was killed in 2011 after being overthrown in
an uprising.

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