BREAKING: Plane With 118 Passengers Reported Hijacked… Threats to Blow up Plane


While en route from the Libyan city of Sabha to the capital of Tripoli early Friday morning, Afriqiyah Airways A320 was commandeered by two hijackers who claimed they would blow it up with hand grenades unless it was promptly rerouted to Malta.

“The plane was forced to land in Malta at the hijackers’ request,” a board member of Afriqiyah Airways later confirmed with The Wall Street Journal. “We don’t know the reason they are doing this.”

What was known was the hijackers had been observed waving green flags and had claimed to be members of Al Fatah Al Gadida, a group that reportedly supported deceased Libya dictator Muammar Gaddafi, as noted by the Times of Malta.

Moreover, the hostages had promised to release all 111 passengers — including 82 men, 28 women and an infant — were their demands to be met.

Passengers reportedly started disembarking the plane at 1:50 p.m. local time, though the nature of the hijackers’ demands and what local authorities did to meet them was not immediately clear.

By 3:50 pm, almost all the passengers had been released and preparations were being made for the seven crew members to be released as well.

The latest update, issued at 4:44 p.m. local time (or 9:44 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast) by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, revealed that the the hijackers had surrendered, been searched and taken into custody.

What remained unknown was who exactly were they, why had they hijacked the plane and what in the world did they want?

According to The WSJ, this was not the first time that Afriqiyah Airways had been targeted over political unrest.

“In 2014 attacks by militias on Tripoli Airport destroyed and damaged several of its planes,” the outlet reported. “Four years earlier some of its planes were destroyed in fighting at Tripoli’s airport.”

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H/T Fox News