Official: Hijacking thwarted on Cairo flight

October 21, 2009 2:03:56 PM PDT
Security guards thwarted an attempted hijacking Wednesday on an EgyptAir flight from Istanbul to Cairo by overpowering a man who threatened crew members with a knife, a security official for the airline said. A Sudanese man used a plastic knife from the in-flight meal to threaten flight attendants after the plane left Turkish airspace and demanded that the flight be diverted to Jerusalem, the official said. Guards on the flight were able to detain the man and no one was hurt, he said.

The flight landed safely at Cairo airport. The man was arrested and was being questioned by state security, the official said.

The Boeing aircraft was carrying 87 passengers, a Cairo police official said. He identified the suspect as Mohammed Hamad Nourain, 26, and said he used a passport with a phony name to board the flight.

The man told flight attendants he wanted to "liberate Jerusalem," the police official said.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide the information to journalists.

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