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Late Gaddafi’s Loyalists Hijack Libyan Plane

A Libyan passenger plane carrying about 118 people has been reportedly hijacked by two gunmen perceived to be pro-Gaddafi supporters.

The Hijackers are said to have demanded the release of Gaddafi’s son Saif al Islam Gaddafi from prison.

The attackers who are believed to be armed with grenades forced the Afriqiyah Airways A320 plane to land in Malta where armed soldiers have surrounded it on the runway.

The Airbus A320, operated by the state-owned airline Afriqiyah Airways, was hijacked on an internal route between the cities of Sabha and Tripoli on Friday. There were 118 passengers and crew on board, with one Libyan politician, Abdel-Salam al-Marabet, reported to be on the passenger list.

All passengers and most crew were allowed to leave the aircraft hours after landing, but the hijackers kept a few people as hostages.

After a four-hour standoff at the airport in Malta, the two hijackers who reportedly claimed they wanted to launch a new political party, came out of the Afriqiyah Airways plane with a crew-member who was their final hostage.

“Hijackers surrendered, searched and taken in custody,” Maltese prime minister, Joseph Muscat said on Twitter, after the 116 passengers and crew on board were allowed to leave the plane in batches.

As negotiations were underway one of the hijackers told Libya’s Channel TV in a phone call that he headed a party supporting the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and had organised the uprising to promote the group.

 

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