AVIATION: Larnaca airport in lockdown after Egyptair hijack, most hostages freed (Update)

State CyBC reported that a number of passengers, estimated at 50, were seen disembarking the Airbus A320 with their hand luggage.

The Cyprus authorities had been alerted about 30 minutes earlier when the internal flight from Alexandria headed to Cairo was hijacked after takeoff and was diverted to Larnaca, the scene of the bloodiest battle in February 1978 when Egyptian commandoes tried to storm a plane where terrorists had taken refuge and sought to leave.

The gunmen had earlier assassinated prominent Egyptian newspaper editor Yousef El Sebai, a close friend of President Anwar Sadat, who ordered his elite Task Force 777 troops to capture the gunmen as the Cypriot forces were unable to rescue the hostages.

The unauthorised rescue attempt resulted in confusion on the tarmac and 15 Egyptian troops were killed by friendly fire, causing a serious rift in relations between Cyprus and Egypt, that were only restored a decade ago.

Source: Financial Mirror