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A jilted lover, mistaken identity & a selfie: All the loose ends of the EgyptAir MS181 hijacking

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 6:05 IST
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  • An EgyptAir flight MS181 - flying from Alexandria to Cairo with 81 people on board - was hijacked on 29 March. All passengers were released and the hijacker was arrested.
  • The hijacker, Seif Eldin Mustafa, apparently used a fake suicide belt to take control of the flight and divert it to Cyprus. He was first wrongly identified as a professor, Ibrahim Samaha.
  • A 26-year-old passenger on board the flight, Ben Innes, has been criticised for circulating a selfie with the hijacker.

When news of the hijacked EgyptAir flight MS181 broke on 29 March, it sparked panic - as it came exactly a week after the 22 March terror attack on Brussels. However, with more details on the MS181 hijack now emerging, the story is now a morbid tale of a jilted lover, a plane hijack, a mistaken identity and a selfie. Yes, you heard that right.

The hijacker - identified by Cypriot officials as Seif Eldin Mustafa - used a fake suicide belt to take control of the plane flying from Alexandria to Cairo with 81 people on board and forced the pilots to land at Larnaca in Cyprus. Authorities took charge of the situation and stated that the incident was not terrorism-related and no one was injured. All the passengers were released and the hijacker was arrested.

According to reports, Mustafa, an Egyptian national, planned the hijack in an attempt to pressurise officials into arranging a meeting with his estranged wife. An official at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "He's not a terrorist, he's an idiot. Terrorists are crazy but they aren't stupid. This guy is".

Hours after the attack, a photo began to make the rounds on social media - with an Aberdeen man, one of the hostages on board Flight MS181, posing for a selfie with the hijacker. The man in question is Ben Innes, a 26-year-old oil and gas industry auditor.

Mustafa was first misidentified as Ibrahim Samaha, a professor. While this was later clarified, Innes has been slammed for his "irresponsible" actions. According to media reports, He sent the selfie to his friends, with the message "'You know your boy doesn't f*** about. Turn on the news!" the Daily Mail reported.

First published: 30 March 2016, 1:47 IST
 
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