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Hijacked Libyan plane: 25 passengers released (UPDATING)

Other News Materials 23 December 2016 17:46 (UTC +04:00)
Hijackers have allowed a group of passengers, including women and children, to walk off an Afriqiyah Airways flight in Malta.

17:46 (UTC/GMT+4) Hijackers have allowed a group of passengers, including women and children, to walk off an Afriqiyah Airways flight in Malta, Sky News reports.

The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat, confirmed that 25 people had been released from the aircraft.

Initial reports said two hijackers had hand grenades and threatened to blow up the aircraft with 111 passengers on board - it is not clear what the demands are.

16:37 (GMT +4) Hijackers aboard a Libyan plane that landed in Malta have agreed to give up their weapons and let the 118 passengers on board free, Malta Today reports.

Early reports suggest that the two hijackers are pro-Gaddafi supporters who have threatened to blow up the plane with a hand-grenade, and keep the passengers hostage onboard unless certain, as yet unknown, demands are met.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said in a tweet that there are 111 passengers on board – 82 males, 28 females and one infant.

Earlier today, Muscat said that he has been informed of a “potential hijack situation of a Libya internal flight diverted to Malta”.

“Security and emergency operations are standing by,” he said.

15:32 (GMT +4) A Libyan passenger plane with 118 people on board has been forced to land in Malta in what the Maltese prime minister called a "potential hijack situation", BBC reports.

The Airbus A320 was flying inside Libya for airline Afriqiyah Airways when it was diverted, local media report.

There were two hijackers involved, who threatened to bomb the plane, according to initial reports.

Maltese PM Joseph Muscat said security forces were standing by.

Malta International Airport confirmed on Twitter that there had been an "unlawful interference" at the airport.

It said emergency teams had been dispatched.

Darrin Zammit Lupi, a Reuters news agency photographer based in Malta, told the BBC he could see a number of soldiers and special forces vehicles at the scene.

15:11 (GMT +4) There have been reports about a high-jacked Libyan aircraft that had been forced to land in Malta.

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