The Cypriot state television reported that the hijacker has asked for a translator and political asylum and also demands to see estranged Cypriot wife. An EgyptAir spokesperson has tweeted confirming the release of the passengers. The hijacker had acted due to "personal reasons", media reported.
Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades said the hijacking of the plane to Cyprus is not a terror act. "The hijacking is not terrorism-related," he told a joint news conference with the visiting president of the European Parliament Martin Schultz.
Anastasiades assured that all necessary measures had been taken by the government to ensure the safe release of the passengers.
Initially it was reported that 81 people were on board the plane. But later it was reported by MENA news agency said the Flight 181 carried 56 passengers and eight crew on board. The passengers included 30 Egyptians and 26 foreigners, including eight Americans and four Britons.
Cyprus state TV says hijacker 'just wants to deliver a message to his ex-wife who's Cypriot'. Earlier, it was said by the Egyptian aviation ministry that the hijacker had threatened to detonate an explosives belt and it forced the captain to accept his demand and divert the flight to Cyprus.
Referring to reports that the hijacker had demanded to see a Cypriot woman, Anastasiades said: "Always there is a woman." Cyprus's Sigma television reported that the authorities had brought a woman to the airport from her home village of Oroklini, accompanied by a young child.