Two men who claim to possess hand grenades hijacked a Libyan plane one hour ago, according to the Times of Malta. Their intentions are still unclear.
The Airbus A320, operated by the state-owned airline Afriqiyah Airways, was hijacked on an internal route between the cities of Sabha and Tripoli.
There were 111 passengers and 7 crew members on board, with one Libyan law maker identified as Abdel-Salam al-Marabet reported in the passenger list.
65 passengers have been released so far, with the fate of the remaining 63 still under negotiation, according to the Maltese prime minister.
“The pilot reported to the control tower in Tripoli that they were being hijacked, then they lost communication with him,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The pilot tried very hard to have them land at the correct destination but they refused.”
Colonel Hamed Al-Khayali, told the BBC, "It was hijacked and investigations are continuing to establish how any explosives or weapons made it on board.”
He said that it is possible that something might have been smuggled en route.
The deputy mayor for Lija in Malta, Madga Magri Naudi, told the BBC that paramedics and soldiers were standing by to see "what the next step is". They made sure that the airport deployed emergency teams as well.
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