Egyptian to face trial over hijacking plane diverted to Cyprus

Egyptian Seif Eldin Mustafa, who hijacked an EgyptAir passenger plane, is transferred by Cypriot police from the court back to the prison in Nicosia, Cyprus on May 13. (Reuters)
Updated 05 December 2018
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Egyptian to face trial over hijacking plane diverted to Cyprus

CAIRO: A man accused of hijacking a plane more than two years ago and diverting it to Cyprus will face trial on a string of charges, Egypt's public prosecutor said Wednesday.
Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa, who was extradited in August from Cyprus, is accused of forcing a domestic flight from Alexandria to Cairo to divert its route to the Mediterranean island in March 2016.
Egypt's public prosecutor announced on Wednesday the case has been referred to the country's criminal court, paving the way for a trial to begin at an unspecified date.
Accusations against Mostafa include deliberately disrupting a flight, seizing control of an aircraft through threats and intimidation and promoting the ideas of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, the prosecutor said in a statement.
Cypriot authorities handed over Mostafa to their Egyptian counterparts after a court ruling allowed his extradition.
While held in Cyprus, Mostafa fought his extradition on grounds he would not receive a fair trial in Egypt. The Cypriot supreme court however dismissed his appeal last year against being sent home.
His request for asylum was refused as Cypriot authorities deemed him a "perpetrator of serious crimes".
The 2016 hijacking took place a few months after the October 2015 downing of a Russian airliner by the Islamic State group, killing all 224 on board, an incident that dealt a severe blow to Egypt's lucrative tourism industry.


Israel vote deadlock confirmed by near-complete official results

Updated 5 min 21 sec ago

Israel vote deadlock confirmed by near-complete official results

  • Final election results will be published on Wednesday
JERUSALEM: Near-complete official results Friday confirmed a deadlock in Israel’s general election this week, putting Benny Gantz’s party as the largest but without an obvious path to form a majority coalition.
The results from Israel’s election committee showed Gantz’s centrist Blue and White with 33 seats out of 120 and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud with 31.
Final results will be published on Wednesday, it said, and there could be changes before then.
The committee said the results did not include 14 polling stations where verifications were still ongoing.
Israeli media said that meant 99.8 percent of the votes had been counted.
The third-largest total was the mainly Arab Joint List alliance, which won 13 seats, followed by the Jewish ultra-Orthodox party Shas with nine.
Another ultra-Orthodox party, United Torah Judaism, won eight seats, as did ex-defense minister Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beitenu.
The results have put Netanyahu’s long tenure in office at risk.
On Thursday, he acknowledged the results did not allow him to form a right-wing coalition as he hoped and instead called on Gantz to form a unity government with him.
Gantz responded by saying he would have to be prime minister in a unity government since Blue and White was the largest party.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin plans to begin consultations with all parties voted into parliament on Sunday to decide who to choose to try to form a government.