Hijacked plane flew back towards Tripoli before heading to Malta

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An Afriqiyah Airways plane that was hijacked on Friday during an internal Libyan flight was diverted towards Malta, but turned back as far as Libyan airspace before changing course again and flying to the Mediterranean island, an airline official said.

“According to radar information the plane was going to Malta, then it flew back as far as Tripoli airspace, then it turned back towards Malta again,” said Farouk al-Wifati, the head of the Afriqiyah Airways office in Tripoli’s Mitiga airport, where the flight was due to land.

A security official at Mitiga told Reuters earlier that the pilot had tried to persuade the hijackers to land in Libya, but they had refused.
The hijacked Libyan has 111 passengers on board, including an infant, Malta’s prime minister said on Twitter.

“It has been established that Afriqiyah flight has 111 passengers on board. 82 males, 28 females, 1 infant,” Joseph Muscat said.