Cyprus said on Wednesday that it had approved a request from Cairo to extradite the man accused of hijacking an EgyptAir plane last week and diverting it to Cyprus, sources told AFP.
Egyptian Seif al-Din Mohamed Mostafa, 58, is accused of using a fake suicide belt to seize the Alexandria-to-Cairo flight on March 29 and force it to land in Cyprus in an attempt to meet his estranged wife, who lives on the island.
Cypriot government officials told AFP that a legal process would now begin to send home the hijacker, who is in police custody on the island. Egypt had requested his extradition shortly after last week’s incident.
"Instructions were given for the relevant procedures to begin," a government official told the news agency.
Nicosia is expected to try to fast-track the extradition process which could take several weeks.
The suspect is expected to remain in custody until his extradition papers are ready.
Cypriot prosecutors said last week that Mostafa faced possible charges of hijacking, kidnapping, reckless and threatening behavior, and breaches of the anti-terror law.
According to police, Mostafa has given a voluntary statement admitting to the hijacking.
After the hijacking, Mostafa’s ex-wife told a local newspaper he used to brag about having murdered three IDF soldiers, and said he was also a fanatical supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).