Drama in Malta: All the details of the capture of Libyan aircraft

Драма на Мальте: Все подробности захвата ливийского самолета

Captured Libyan plane at Malta airport

The plane of the Libyan airline Afriqiyah Airways, was carrying out internal flight with 111 passengers on Board, was captured today in the airspace of Libya and sent to Malta. Fortunately, the dramatic story ended well, and all passengers and crew members were released. We have prepared all the chronology of the incident in questions and answers.

What happened?

The liner airline Afriqiyah Airways A320 was seized in the Libyan airspace. The plane carried out internal flight from Sabha to Tripoli. All on Board were 111 passengers (82 men, 28 women and a baby) and seven crew members. According to preliminary information, all the passengers – the citizens of Libya.

The plane was seized by two hijackers who claimed to have a hand grenade and threatened to blow up the plane. The pilot tried to land the plane in Libya, but criminals are allowed to do and sent it to Malta.

Драма на Мальте: Все подробности захвата ливийского самолета

The route of the Libyan aircraft after capture

The hijackers said that they are ready to allow all the passengers to get off, if their demands are met. The ship was surrounded by the military, began the negotiations that led transport Minister of Libya. From Malta, the talks led by the commander of the air force Jeffrey Kurmi.

The airport has suspended its work: flights, flying to Malta, was deployed to Sicily, and flights from Malta postponed.

At about 14:00 local time (15:00 Kyiv time), the passengers began to leave the hijacked plane. First came the women and children gradually released all, including crew members.

Драма на Мальте: Все подробности захвата ливийского самолета

The first group of freed hostages out of the captured aircraft in Libya, 23 Dec 2016

How many invaders were on Board?

First, the message about the number of hijackers was contradictory.

Maltese government sources told AFP that there was one man on Board, who informed the crew that he has a grenade and he will deliver passengers only when it is still uncertain the requirements are met.

A source from the Libyan government, spoke of the “hijackers” on Board. Source Afriqiyah Airways said two of the kidnapper threatened the pilots with an explosive device, probably a grenade.

Драма на Мальте: Все подробности захвата ливийского самолета

Encircled captured 23 Dec Libyan aircraft landed in Malta

What do they want?

After release, the pilot of the plane Malid Ali said that two of the invaders, they are from the South of Libya, the members of the group “al-Fath al-Jadid” named Moussa Shah and Ahmed Ali. Both of them for about 30 years. They demand political asylum in Europe and the creation of the political party “al-Fath al-Jadid”. Apparently, it stands for the ideas of the late former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as one of the hijackers came on Board with the Libya flag Gaddafi era.

An imprisoned son of Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam denies any connection with the hijackers of Libyan aircraft. Zintan Seif al-Islam said that “has no relation to the hijacking and rejects any terrorist operation.”

The speaker of the Libyan house of representatives Fath al-Marimi said that the demands of the hijackers normal, and it does not need to seize the plane.

Television Channel Libya managed to get in touch with the invaders. One of them, calling himself the leader of “al-Fath al-Jadid”, said that they went to such lengths to announce and promote this new party. They left the Board and surrendered to the authorities.

Hijackers surrendered, amazing and taken in custody.

— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) 23 December 2016