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Passengers released from hijacked plane in Malta

Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat has confirmed all 111 passengers and all seven members of crew have been released from an Afriqiyah Airways flight hijacked earlier.

The Airbus A320 was diverted and forced to land at Malta International Airport at 11:32 local time.

The plane took off from Libyan airspace for what was planned as a domestic flight between Sebha and Tripoli.

Two hijackers in their mid-20s took control of the plane claiming to have a hand grenade and threatening to blow up the aircraft.

Soldiers and emergency services surrounded the aircraft as soon as it landed in Malta.

The passengers - 82 men, 28 women and an infant - are all believed to be Libyan.

All flights to and from the airport are being cancelled or diverted.

It is the first major hijack incident in Malta since the 1980s.

The last major hijack incident took place on November 23rd, 1985 when an EgyptAir Boeing 737 plane was diverted to the island.