Egypt formally asked Cyprus on Wednesday to extradite a detained Egyptian man who authorities say admitted hijacking a domestic EgyptAir flight and diverting it to Cyprus by threatening to blow it up with a fake explosives belt. The legal developments came as those on board described an unnerving situation in which the hijacker looked for foreigners by sorting through their passports and kept five on them on the plane after freeing the non-Western passengers.
“He wanted the foreigners … only foreigners. He didn’t want Egyptians or double nationalities,” flight attendant Rouida Ihab told The Associated Press. Italian passenger Andrea Banchetti said passengers were calm through the ordeal but admitted “(I was) going out of my mind” when the hijacker let non-Western passengers off the plane, leaving behind only five European passport-holders including himself. “We looked each other in the eyes and we said, ‘Here we are. We’re at the end of the line. It’s over,’” the 47-year-old mechanic told the Rome daily La Repubblica. (AP)