Breaking: Libyan Plane Hijacked, Landed In Malta. Hijackers Heavily Loaded With Explosives

An Afriqiyah Airways A320 with around 120 people on board has just landed in Malta after it was hijacked.

The plane was on an internal flight from Sebha to Tripoli and diverted by two hijackers who claimed to have a hand grenade.

A total of 111 passengers – 82 men, 28 women and an infant – and seven crew members are on board the aircraft which landed in Malta at 11.32am.

A Libyan security official told Reuters that the pilot told Tripoli Airport Control before communications were lost that the pilot tried to Land in Libya but the hijackers refused.

At 12.13pm, the plane’s engines were still running and it was surrounded by AFM soldiers at a distance. It did not seem anyone had yet approached the plane.

 

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted he is informed of a potential hijack situation of an internal Libyan flight diverted to Malta. Security and emergency operations were standing by.

The reports indicated that two hijackers are on board. They are claiming to be in possession of a hand grenade.

The hijackers, claiming to be pro-Gaddafi group Al Fatah Al Gadida, said they were willing to let all passengers go apart from the crew, if his demands were met.

It is not known what their demands are at this stage.

International media are reporting that the Libyan transport minister is negotiating with the hijacker

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted he is informed of a potential hijack situation of an internal Libyan flight diverted to Malta. Security and emergency operations were standing by.

The reports indicated that two hijackers are on board. They are claiming to be in possession of a hand grenade.

The hijackers, claiming to be pro-Gaddafi group Al Fatah Al Gadida, said they were willing to let all passengers go apart from the crew, if his demands were met.

It is not known what their demands are at this stage.

International media are reporting that the Libyan transport minister is negotiating with the hijacker

Passengers waiting in the Departure Lounge near the gates are being moved towards the open area by the Schengen Passport area.

Afriqiyah Airways operates from Sebha to Tripoli on Friday, leaving at 10.10am and arriving at 11.20am.

It operates another flight on Tuesdays.

First major hijack in Malta since 1985

The last major hijack incident in Malta took place in November 23, 1985 when an EgyptAir Boeing 737 plane was diverted to the island.

What followed was a 24-hour nightmare that ended in a bloody massacre with 62 people dead when Egyptian commandos stormed the plane. Only one of the three hijackers survived and was brought to justice.

Forty-three years ago then Prime Minster Dom Mintoff managed to negotiate the release of 247 passengers and eight air hostesses on board a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet which was also hijacked over Iraq and flown to Malta.

The passengers and air hostesses were released in return for fuel. The plane had been hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. The plane later left Malta and the hijackers eventually surrendered.

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