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"Pro-Qaddafi" Hijackers Threaten To Blow Up Libyan Plane Diverted To Malta
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Old 12-23-2016
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Default "Pro-Qaddafi" Hijackers Threaten To Blow Up Libyan Plane Diverted To Malta






"Pro-Qaddafi" Hijackers Threaten To Blow Up
Libyan Plane Diverted To Malta





Dec. 23, 2016 7:58 AM EST

VALLETTA, Malta The Latest on the apparent hijacking of a Libyan plane that landed in Malta (all times local):


1:55 p.m.

Passengers have begun disembarking from the hijacked Libyan aircraft in Malta.

The doors of the plane opened at 1:44 p.m. local time and a staircase moved to the door before passengers began disembarking.

An official from Afriqiyah Airways said the two hijackers had expressed a willingness to release the passengers but that they will keep the pilot.

Serraj al-Fitouri also told Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV that one Libyan lawmaker was among the list of passengers. It was unclear whether the lawmaker, identified as Abdel-Salam al-Marabet, had been on the flight that was hijacked earlier Friday.

1:45 p.m.

The office of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says the premier has spoken to his Libyan counterpart, Fayez Serraj, about the hijacking of a Libyan plane, which landed on the Mediterranean island earlier Friday.

Serraj is leading the so-called Presidency Council and National Unity Government, both brokered by the United Nations as part of peace efforts to heal the country's rift and end divisions.

Libya has been in a largely lawless state since Moammar Gadhafi was ousted and killed in 2011 after 42 years of unchallenged rule in the North African nation.

The Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 flight took off from Tamhent Airport in the Libyan town of Sabha for the capital Tripol. Airport officials say there are 118 passengers on board.

Maltese state television TVM said the two hijackers of the plane had hand grenades and had threatened to explode them.

1:10 p.m.

The office of Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has confirmed that a negotiating team is on standby at Malta International Airport awaiting instructions from the prime minister, who is in a meeting with the National Security Committee.

State television TVM said the two hijackers of the Libyan plane had hand grenades and had threatened to explode them. Airport officials said the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 flight has 118 passengers on board.

12:50 p.m.

Malta's state television says two hijackers who diverted a Libyan commercial plane to the Mediterranean island nation have threatened to blow it up.

The Malta airport authority said all emergency teams had been dispatched to the site of what it called an "unlawful interference" on the airport tarmac. The plane's engines were still running.

State television TVM said the two hijackers on board had hand grenades and had threatened to explode them.

All flights in and out of Malta have been canceled.

Airport officials said the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 flight has 118 passengers on board.

12:05 p.m.

Malta airport says a Libyan plane has landed at the Mediterranean island and that there appear to be two hijackers on board.

The Malta airport authority said all emergency teams had been dispatched to the site of what it called an "unlawful interference" on the airport tarmac.

Earlier Friday, Malta's prime minister, Joseph Muscat, said in a tweet that there was a "potential hijack situation" involving an internal Libyan flight that was diverted to Malta and that emergency operations are underway at the airport.

Airport officials said the Afriqiyah Airways A320 flight has 118 passengers on board.

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