Hijacked plane diverted to Malta

AN internal flight in Libya has been hijacked and diverted to Malta where it landed on Friday, Maltese media report.

The Airbus A320 was flying inside Libya for state-owned airline Afriqiyah Airways with 118 people aboard, the reports said.

The two hijackers had threatened to blow the plane up, outlets including the Times of Malta reported.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted: "Informed of potential hijack situation of a #Libya internal flight diverted to #Malta. Security and emergency operations standing by -JM".

Libya has been in a state of chaos since the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi left warring militias battling for control of different parts of the country.

Forces loyal to a fledgling national unity government recently took control of the coastal city of Sirte, which had been a bastion for the Islamic State group since June 2015.

Western powers have pinned their hopes of containing jihadism in the energy-rich North African state on the government but it has failed to establish its authority over all of the country.

A rival authority rules the country's far east, backed by the forces under military strongman Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who have been battling jihadists in second city Benghazi.


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