After EgyptAir hijacking, Israeli Air Force jets take to skies


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli Air Force scrambled its jets after the hijacking of an EgyptAir plane traveling from Alexandria to Cairo.

The plane was taken to Cyprus on Tuesday morning after a passenger threatened to blow himself up. It was not known if the passenger had a bomb strapped to himself, though he was treated as if he did.

EgyptAir flight MS181, landed in Larnaca, located on the southern coast of Cyprus, where the hijacker allowed most of the 81 passengers, including several Americans, and crew off the plane. Four crew members and three foreign passengers remained on board, according to the Egyptian aviation minister.

The hijacker was arrested by Cypriot security officials the same afternoon, ending the standoff.

The case has not been ruled a terrorist incident, as the would-be bomber reportedly had asked to see his estranged wife.

“It is not something which has to do with terrorism,” Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters.

The Israeli war planes were deployed to protect Israel’s airspace, the IDF said.

“IDF planes were called up in light of the hijacking of an Egyptian plane to ensure Israeli airspace was not breached. When the plane landed in Cyprus, they returned to their base,” the IDF spokesman said.

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