NEWS

EgyptAir Hijacker Seif El Din Mustafa Says He 'Hasn't Seen His Wife And Children In 24 Years'

'What's someone supposed to do?'

30/03/2016 13:21

The hijacker of an EgyptAir flight who wore a fake suicide belt and threatened to blow the plane up told police: "What's someone supposed to do when he hasn't seen his wife and children in 24 years?"

Seif El Din Mustafa flashed the 'V' for victory sign out of a police vehicle as he left court in handcuffs on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old faces charges of hijacking, illegal possession of explosives, kidnapping and threats to commit violence.

Yiannis Kourtoglou / Reuters
Seif El Din Mustafa gestures as he is transferred by Cypriot police from a court in Larnaca

His wife is still refusing to see him after he hijacked an Airbus A320 and redirected it to Larnaca International Airport, in Cyprus, on Tuesday.

Mustafa was reported as looking "exhausted" in court today.

When he asked to call his ex-wife, a court official said she "doesn't want to talk to him", Kareem Fahim from The New York times reports. 

The Cypriot court ordered Mustafa to be detained for eight days.

Cypriot officials described him as "psychologically unstable", the Press Association reports.

It comes after a bizarre set of demands Mustafa made to police negotiators, including a letter he wanted delivered to his Cypriot ex-wife in which he demanded the release of 63 dissident women imprisoned in Egypt.

Cypriot president Nikos Anastasiades faced criticism yesterday when he laughed about the hijacking, saying “always there is a woman involved”.

While the hostage situation was still ongoing, Egypt’s foreign ministry said that the hijacker was not a terrorist, but an "idiot", according to The Guardian.

Police prosecutor Andreas Lambrianou said that Cypriot authorities will ask for Interpol's help to determine how the suspect managed to pass the fake explosives belt through airport security in Egypt.

Passengers of the hijacked flight have been reunited with friends and family at Cairo Airport, the intended destination of the Airbus A320, which was travelling from Alexandria.

  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Passengers of an EgyptAir Airbus A-320 which was hijacked to Cyprus arrive at Cairo international airport on March 29, 2016.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Egypt's civil aviation minister, Sharif Fathi speaks to media.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Passengers of an EgyptAir Airbus A-320 which was hijacked to Cyprus arrive at Cairo international airport on March 29, 2016. 
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Passengers of an EgyptAir Airbus A-320 which was hijacked to Cyprus arrive at Cairo international airport on March 29, 2016.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Passengers arrive at Cairo international airport.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Emotional scenes as passengers embrace friends and family.
  • Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
    Passengers of an EgyptAir Airbus A-320 which was hijacked to Cyprus arrive at Cairo international airport on March 29, 2016.
  • Petros Karadjias/AP
    EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa, second left, is escorted by Cyprus police officers as he leaves a court after a remand hearing as authorities investigate him on charges including hijacking, illegal possession of explosives and abduction in the Cypriot coastal town of Larnaca Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Mustafa described as "psychologically unstable" hijacked a flight Tuesday from Egypt to Cyprus and threatened to blow it up. His explosives turned out to be fake, and he surrendered with all passengers released unharmed after a bizarre six-hour standoff. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
  • Amr Nabil/AP
    Egyptian captain Amr El Gammal, the pilot of the hijacked domestic EgyptAir flight, is hugged by his relatives upon the flight arrival at Cairo International airport, Egypt, Tuesday, March 29, 2016. An Egyptian man wearing a fake explosives belt who hijacked a domestic EgyptAir flight and forced it to land in Larnaca Cyprus on Tuesday has surrendered and was taken into custody after he released all passengers and crew unharmed. 
  • Petros Karadjias/AP
    Cyprus police officers escort EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa, third right, to a court for a remand hearing.
  • Amr Nabil/AP
    Relatives of passengers of the hijacked domestic EgyptAir flight, wait for their arrival at Cairo International airport, Egypt.
  • Amr Nabil/AP
    Nayerah Atef, an Egyptian crew member of the hijacked domestic EgyptAir flight, is hugged by her family members upon the flight arrival at Cairo International airport, Egypt.
  • Amr Nabil/AP
    Relatives of passengers of the hijacked domestic EgyptAir flight, wait for their arrival.
  • GEORGE MICHAEL via Getty Images
    Handcuffed Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa, an Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir passenger plane the previous day and forced it to divert to Cyprus demanding to see his ex-wife, flashes the 'V' for victory sign as he leaves the court in Larnaca in a police car on March 30, 2016. 
  • Petros Karadjias/AP
    EgyptAir plane hijacking suspect Seif Eddin Mustafa flashes the victory sign.
  • AP
    Cyprus police officers escort an Egyptian, third left, who hijacked an EgyptAir jetliner Tuesday to a court for a remand hearing.
  • AP
    Cyprus police officers escort Egyptian Seif Eddin Mustafa, center.
  • GEORGE MICHAEL via Getty Images
    Handcuffed Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa, an Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir passenger plane the previous day and forced it to divert to Cyprus demanding to see his ex-wife, flashes the 'V' for victory sign as he leaves the court in Larnaca.
  • GEORGE MICHAEL via Getty Images
    Mostafa was remanded into police custody for eight days during his first court appearance. 

Briton Ben Innes was among the four passengers held hostage by Mustafa.

Innes became a celebrity overnight, appearing on the front pages of many of Britain's papers, after he had the “best selfie ever” taken with his captor.

Mustafa was arrested yesterday following a six-hour stand off at Larnaca Airport.

Police arrested the suspect after all 72 passengers and crew on board the Airbus A320 aircraft were released.

Most of those on board were freed shortly after the plane landed at Larnaca airport on the Mediterranean island on Tuesday morning, but the hijacker held seven people hostage for a number of hours before the stand-off came to a conclusion.

The incident comes just five months after 224 people were killed when a Russian aircraft crashed over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula minutes after it took off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Russia later said an explosive device brought down the aircraft in October, and the extremist Islamic State group said it was responsible.

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