A Greek Cypriot government official said an Egyptian request to extradite a man who authorities say admitted to hijacking an EgyptAir flight with a fake suicide belt has been approved.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he's not authorized to publicly discuss details of an ongoing investigation, told The Associated Press Thursday that law enforcement authorities have been instructed to start the relevant procedures to return 59-year-old Seif Eddin Mustafa to Egypt. Mustafa, whom Greek Cypriot authorities described as "psychologically unstable," is accused of forcing a flight from Alexandria to Cairo to land in South Cyprus last week after claiming to be strapped with explosives.
Egyptian man was reportedly an academic at Alexandria University. His surrender ended an hours-long drama and standoff at the Larnaca airport in southern Cyprus. The man's motivation was unclear, but Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the hijacking was "not something that has to do with terrorism" and a Greek Cypriot government official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the man "seems (to be) in love." The official said the man wore a belt but there were no explosives in it. The Cypriot woman who the hijacker had asked to speak to is his former wife with whom he has four children, the police official said. The hijacker had also complained about the current Egyptian government and had demanded the release of female prisoners from Egyptian jails.