Libyan plane hijacker jailed 25 years

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A man who hijacked a Libyan plane with more than 100 people on board was jailed on Wednesday for 25 years by a court in Malta, where the airliner landed.

Libyan national Shah Soko Moussa, 29, had pleaded guilty in February to hijacking the Afriqiyah Airlines Airbus A320 on December 23, 2016.

His co-accused, Ali Ahmed Saleh, like him from the southern Libyan city of Sabha, is still awaiting trial.

The hijackers seized the plane as it travelled from Sabha to Tripoli and ordered the pilots to divert towards Malta, where it landed at the international airport in Luqa.

They unsuccessfully tried to storm the locked cockpit of the aircraft, armed with what later turned out to be replica weapons, and threatened to blow up the plane.

During negotiations with Maltese security forces, the men declared that they were members of a group that supported Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, who was killed in an uprising in 2011.

The four-hour standoff ended when the hijackers emerged from the airliner with their final hostage, a crew member. Nobody on board was hurt in the ordeal.

Both Moussa and Saleh initially denied the charges, but Moussa later changed his plea.


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