Libyan Plane At Malta With 118 On Board Hijacked
Libyan Plane HIGHLIGHTS
- 2 hijackers suspected to be on board Libyan plane
- ‘Potential hijack situation,’ tweets Malta Prime Minister
- Emergency teams sent to airport tarmac
Libyan Plane At Malta With 118 On Board Hijacked An Afriqiyah Airways flight with 118 on board has been hijacked from Libya and diverted to Malta where it landed this afternoon, Maltese media reported. There are reportedly two hijackers on the plane who have threatened to blow up the Airbus A320. They are reportedly carrying grenades.
Maltese media reported that the hijacked plane had been on a domestic Libyan flight operated by Afriqiyah Airways. The aircraft had been flying from Sebha in southwest Libya to Tripoli and had 111 passengers, including an infant, and seven crew.
“The pilot reported to the control tower in Tripoli that they were being hijacked, then they lost communication with him,” a senior security official at the airport said.
The Malta airport authority said all emergency teams had been dispatched to the site of what it called an “unlawful interference” on the airport tarmac. The plane’s engines were still running.
The tiny Mediterranean island of Malta is about 500 km (300 miles) north of the Libyan coast.
All flights in and out of Malta have been canceled.
Libya has been in a state of chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi left warring militias battling for control of different parts of the country.
Forces loyal to a fledgling national unity government recently took control of the coastal city of Sirte, which had been a bastion for the ISIS since June 2015.
Western powers have pinned their hopes of containing jihadism in the energy-rich North African state on the government but it has failed to establish its authority over all of the country.
A rival authority rules the country’s far east, backed by the forces under military strongman Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who have been battling terrorists in second city Benghazi.