[BREAKING] An Afriqiyah flight has been hijacked

An Afriqiyah Airways flight from Sebha to Tripoli (flight 8U209, performed by an A320 registered 5A-ONB) has been hijacked and has landed in Malta instead of its final destination.

There are 118 people on board, 7 crew and 111 passengers, of which 82 are males, 28 are females and 1 is an infant.

Arrivals to Luqa Malta Airport are holding or diverting to airports in Sicily, for the most part.

Here’s a screenshot of the flight data received by Flightradar24:


The aircraft did not squawk 7500, which is the hijacking code.

UPDATE 1112 UTC:

MIA (Malta’s airport operator) has confirmed on Twitter that there is an unlawful interference at the airport and that emergency teams have been dispatched. This confirms the aircraft has been hijacked.

UPDATE 1127 UTC:

The aircraft is still on the runway, the military is on site. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted that he is informed of the potential hijack situation. Media is reporting that there are two hijackers onboard which reportedly have grenades and are threatening to blow the plane up.

UPDATE 1217 UTC:

The hijackers, who are claiming to be part of the pro-Gaddafi group Al Fatah Al Gadida, said they are willing to let all passengers go apart from the crew, if their demand are to be met. It is not yet know what their demands actually are.

Engines are still running and the aircraft is surrounded by AFM soldiers from a distance. It seems that nobody has yet approached the plane.

UPDATE 1227 UTC:

Luqa Malta Airport is back in operation. Current runway in use is the main runway, 13/31, while the aircraft is parked on he secondary runway, 05/23.

UPDATE 1310 UTC:

Twenty-five (all of which are women and children) of the 111 passengers on board the hijacked aircraft have been released, Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat has announced on Twitter.

Pictures of passengers being released (by @LibyaFromInside on Twitter).


UPDATE 1335 UTC:

As of this moment 65 passengers have been released. And the release of the remaining 44 is underway, meaning only the hijackers and crew members will remain onboard.

UPDATE 1350 UTC:

Some of the crew members are being released too, potentially leaving only the two hijackers and some of the crew onboard the aircraft.

UPDATE 1430 UTC: 

Hijackers have asked for asylum in Malta.

UPDATE 1447 UTC:

The hijackers have surrendered and the remaining crew members have disembarked the aircraft. Everybody is safe, the hijacking is now over. 

The hijackers have been searched and taken into custody. 

A photo of the crew members leaving the aircraft: 

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