Free Press Journal

Hijacked Libyan plane Passengers leave Malta for home


A picture taken on December 23, 2016 in Valletta, Malta, shows a group of hostages being released from the Afriqiyah Airways A320 after it was hijacked from Libya. A man who said he was armed with a grenade hijacked a Libyan plane which landed on Malta Friday with 118 people on board, Malta's prime minister and government sources on the Mediterranean island said. After more than an hour on the tarmac, the plane's door opened and a first group of women and children were seen descending a mobile staircase. "First group of passengers, consisting of women and children, being released now," Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Twitter, adding in a later tweet that 50 passengers in all were being let off the plane. / AFP PHOTO / Matthew Mirabelli / Malta OUT

Valletta (Malta): The passengers from a hijacked Libyan flight that was diverted to Malta have left the Mediterranean island and are returning home.

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Malta’s interior minister, Carmelo Abela, said the passengers left Malta early Saturday.

Two Libyan hijackers had diverted the domestic flight Friday to demand asylum in Europe and create a new political party in honor of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi, officials said. After hours of negotiations, the standoff ended peacefully with the hijackers freeing all 117 people on board and walking off the plane to surrender.

The passengers were subsequently interviewed by officials.

Malta police said it was most likely the two hijackers, who had threatened to blow up the plane with hand grenades, would be arraigned Saturday.