A grenade and two pistols were confiscated from the two hijackers who surrendered to the Maltese authorities this afternoon, according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. One of the pistols was found on the plane during an ongoing search by the Armed Forces of Malta.
Delivering a short press conference after the four-hour long hijack drama, Dr Muscat said he was glad that the day ended well with no casualties. He said he got the call as he was preparing for the government’s annual Christmas lunch.
“We made it very clear that we would not negotiate under any conditions unless there was surrender,” said Dr Muscat, who was dressed casually and flanked by several other members of his government, including Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech and head of Transport Malta James Piscopo.
Also alongside Dr Muscat was the chief negotiator Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi, the Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta.
Dr Muscat confirmed that no requests for political asylum had been made by the hijackers and he refused to speculate as to their demands. He did say that the hijackers asked for two Maltese negotiators to board the plane but this request was rejected.
After forcing an internal Libyan flight to land in Malta this morning, the two hijackers – who appear to be supporters of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, agreed to release 109 passengers and six crew members and surrender to the authorities.