A domestic flight on a plane from Libya’s state-owned airline, Afriqiyah Airways, was hijacked earlier today and taken to Malta. The most recent reports suggest that the Airbus A320 has safely landed in Malta, and all 111 passengers (including one infant) have been allowed to disembark, though the hijackers are keeping the pilot hostage.
According to AP, the two hijackers used hand grenades to threaten to blow up the plane unless the aircraft was diverted from its original destination, Tripoli, to Malta. The plane landed in Malta about 12:50 pm local time, under two hours ago.
Sources report that Maltese negotiators are talking to the two hijackers, who are Libyan nationals. Another source suggests that at least one of the hijackers is “pro-Gaddafi,” but as of this point the demands or reasons for the hijacking are not known.
Lybia has been in a state of near-chaos since the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011, which left the country fragmented, with various militias fighting for control.
Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, has been live-tweeting the hijacking:
We’ll update the story as it unfolds.