The 81 passengers aboard EgyptAir flight MS181 got quite a scare on Tuesday when the Airbus 320 en route from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked by a man who claimed to be wearing an explosive belt. Here’s the tweet that hit earlier this morning:

Given recent events, it was only logical to suspect that we might soon be talking about #Egyptair as the latest in a string of tragic terror attacks perpetrated by ISIS militants. Indeed it was just five months ago that Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate brought down a Russian passenger jet over Sinai killing more than 200 people.

Fortunately, the hijacker onboard MS181 turned out to be nothing more than a disgruntled man wanting to see his ex-wife. In Cyprus.

The man has been identified as one Seif El Din Mistafa. Initially, the media fingered the wrong guy, blaming Ibrahim Samaha, a professor of veterinary medicine at Alexandria University.

Mistafa was sitting in seat K38 and apparently, he threatened the pilot (Omar Al-Gammal) with an explosives belt. Egyptian authorities were immediately skeptical.

“I doubt that he had explosives because security has been heightened across all Egyptian airports. But we will be able to confirm later,” Aviation Ministry spokesman Ehab Raslan said.

Still, the pilot followed the man’s demands and landed at Larnaca airport in Cyprus where all passangers save the crew and a handful of foreigners were released. “He’s not a terrorist, he’s an idiot,” The Egyptian foreign ministry said, in a statement. “Terrorists are crazy but they aren’t stupid. This guy is.”

Apparently, the ex-wife is being brought to the airport for negotiations. Meanwhile, the man has now decided that in addition to seeing his ex and securing asylum for himself in Cyprus, he also wants 63 women imprisoned in Egypt freed.

Pending those demands, the pilot, co-pilot, and 3 passengers are still being held on the plane, Cypriot media reports.


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