Israel’s Air Force scrambles jets after EgyptAir hijacking

Marcy Oster

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

The plane was hijacked and taken to Cyprus on Tuesday morning after a passenger threatened to blow himself up. It is not known if the passenger has a bomb strapped to himself, though he is being treated as if he does.

The case has been ruled not terror, as the would-be bomber reportedly has been asking to see his estranged wife.

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

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The Israeli war planes were deployed to protect Israel’s air space, 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 spokesperson said.

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.

Some reports say that the hijacker may be seeking asylum in Cyprus.

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