By Earnest Jones  |  12-24-2016   News
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

At least two individuals armed with hand grenades hijacked an Afriqiyah Airways A320 airliner that was on a domestic flight in Libya. In the incidence that took place on Friday, the flight was diverted to Malta with 118 people on board.

In response to the situation, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted that he had been informed of the potential hijack of a Libyan internal flight that was diverted to Malta. He emphasized that emergency and security operations were standing by.

The diverted Afriqiyah flight had been scheduled to fly from Sabha to Tripoli when the hijackers forced the pilots to land in Malta.

In a report made by the Times of Malta, one hijacker made it clear that he was pro-Gaddafi and that if his demands were met, he was willing to let all 111 passengers to leave the Airbus A320 but not the seven crew members.

The Prime Minister Muscat reported that on board the aircraft, there was 82 males, 27 females, 1 infant and the 7 crew members.

The Prime Minister continued to emphasize that the hijackers had not made it clear on what their demands were. However, he pointed out that the hijackers had made threats to blow up the plane.

In a report made to Reuters by a Libyan security official, the pilot had made an attempt to land in Libya but the hijackers refused, the pilot had communicated with Tripoli Airport Control shortly before communications were lost.

After the plane landed, AFM soldiers were taking positions a few hundred meters away from the plane as it stood idle on the tarmac and no one was leaving or boarding it. However, the aircraft’s engines were still running after it landed in the morning.

The incidence caused other flights at Malta International Airport to be canceled or diverted. The plane was in flight from Sebha in Southwest Libya as it headed to Tripoli. However, the plane was diverted to a tiny Mediterranean island of Malta which is an EU member located 300 miles north of Tripoli.

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