This is the moment when one of the passengers believed to be held hostage on the EgyptAir plane forced to land in Cyprus, takes a grinning selfie with the hijacker.
The hijacker, identified as Seif Eldin Mustafa, is seen wearing his ‘suicide belt’, as an unknown man standing next to him on the plane while taking a picture.
Mustafa hijacked the domestic EgyptAir jet after taking off from Alexandria and forcing it to re-route to Cyprus’ Larnaca airport, where he has taken several passengers and crew hostage and demanded to see his Cypriot ex-wife.
The hostage situation on the tarmac came to a dramatic end just before 1pm as one of the pilots was seen struggling with someone inside cockpit before jumping out of a window, moments before authorities arrested Mustafa.
Mustafa disembarked the plane at around 14.40 local time with his hands up and threw some items on the ground, which were picked up by police and are being examined.
EgyptAir confirmed that all the hostages have been released, saying: ” Official sources at EgyptAir declared the release of all the hostages and the arrest of the hijacker.”
Alexandros Zenon, the permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, did not immediately have more details on the arrest, which ended a five-hours-long drama at the Larnaca airport.
Earlier, seven more people – presumed to be the last of the crew and ‘foreign’ passengers who had remained with the hijacker onboard – were seen leaving the plane.
His arrest followed a comment by an Egyptian Foreign Ministry official, who said: ‘He’s not a terrorist, he’s an idiot. Terrorists are crazy but they aren’t stupid. This guy is.’
A picture from the tarmac shows the moment the attacker hands over a four-page letter intended for his ex-wife, as a female airport official stands with her head in her hands.
While initially not making any demands beyond his ex-wife and asylum, the hijacker reportedly asked for the release of female prisoners in Egypt, the Cyprus state broadcaster reported.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters the incident appeared to be motivated by personal reasons and ‘is not terrorism-related’
Asked about reports that the hijacker had demanded to see a Cypriot woman, Anastasiades laughed and said: ‘Always there is a woman.’
Police spokeswoman Nicoletta Tirimou said the letter handed to officials is written in Arabic, and is being translated, adding that the man’s ex-lover had arrived at the airport and that the couple had children.
Egypt’s civil aviation minister Sharif Fathi, said at a press conference that there has been confusion over the identity of the hijacker, after government officials gave the man’s name as Ibrahim Samaha.
However, this was later retracted, with the Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs naming him as Seif Eldin Mustafa – and the Egyptian government issuing an apology.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.