Libyan Plane Hijacked, lands in Malta

By Faye Higbee

An Afriqiyah Airlines (Libyan) plane was hijacked on an internal flight from Sebha to Tripoli with 118 passengers on board today. The hijackers redirected it to Malta, where it landed at the International Airport there. A tense standoff finally ended with all passengers released and the hijackers in custody. It represents the first hijacking in Malta since 1985.

Malta Security forces surrounded the plane, and negotiations with the perpetrators began. One hijacker was seen waving the flag of Muammar Gaddafi. They demanded the creation of a pro-Gaddafi political party in Libya called al-Fateh al-Jadid.

The hijackers, Mousa Shas & Ahmed Ali, have asked for asylum in Europe. Initial reports claimed that the men were threatening to blow up the plane with explosives they were carrying. The reports from Libyan media also claimed that the men were demanding the release of Gaddafi’s son Saif al Islam Gaddafi, but previous news reports say that he was at large in the country after being released from his death sentence in July 2016.

The Libyan plane carried 82 men, 28 women, 7 crew, and an infant. The women and child were the first group of passengers released.

The stand off ended with the hijackers releasing all passengers and turning themselves over to authorities.

Tom Feneux, a French Freelance Reporter based in Copenhagen, noted that in Libya, armed militias have control of the airports.

This is what the situation looked like earlier: