Libyan Plane hijacking drama comes to a sensational end 

Libyan Plane hijacking drama comes to a sensational end 

The hijackers of a Libyan plane that landed in Malta earlier on Friday have left the aircraft and surrendered after releasing all the passengers and crew, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

“Hijackers surrendered, searched and taken in custody,” Muscat tweeted.

Earlier, women and children were released from the hijacked plane, the Maltese PM had said. “First group of passengers, consisting of women and children, being released now,” he said on Twitter.

An airliner on an international flight in Libya was hijacked and diverted to Malta where it landed on Friday, Maltese media reported.

The Airbus A320 was flying inside Libya for state-owned airline Afriqiyah Airways with 118 people aboard, the reports said. The two hijackers had threatened to blow the plane up, outlets including the Times of Malta reported.

The hijacker told crew he was “pro-Gaddafi” and that he was willing to let all 111 passengers leave the Airbus A320, but not its seven crew, if his demands were met, the Times of Malta said.

It was unclear what the demands were. Some media reports said there was more than one hijacker. Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in an uprising in 2011, and the country has been racked by factional violence since.

Troops took up positions a few hundred meters (yards) from the plane as it stood on the tarmac and no one was seen boarding or leaving it. The aircraft’s engines were still running 45 minutes after it landed late in the morning, the Times of Malta said.

Some other flights at Malta International Airport were canceled or diverted, it said.