Another selfie with the EgyptAir hijacker has emerged on Facebook – this time with an air stewardess posing next to Seif el-Din Mustafa. The female crew member, identified as Naira Atef, was pictured standing next to the smiling 58-year-old hijacker who can be seen wearing his fake suicide vest.
Earlier, pictures circulated on Twitter of British passenger Ben Innes, 26, who was also on board the hijacked EgyptAir plane, posing next to Mustafa. The health and safety auditor from Leeds was one of two Britons held hostage on the flight. Innes has since defended his decision to take the selfie, saying he wanted to take a closer look at the suicide vest.
"I'm not sure why I did it – I just threw caution to the wind while trying to stay cheerful in the face of adversity," said Innes. "I figured if his bomb was real I'd have nothing to lose anyway, so took a chance to get closer and look at it...So I stood by him and smiled for the camera while a stewardess did the snap. It has to be the best selfie ever."
On 29 March, Seif el-Din Mustafa hijacked EgyptAir flight MS181, forcing the A320 airliner to divert to Cyprus as it flew from Alexandria to Cairo. Mustafa had claimed that he was wearing a suicide belt shortly after the plane took off from the airport. He was eventually found to be wearing a fake suicide vest and was arrested by police at Larnaca airport in Cyprus.
Mustafa had requested to see his estranged Cypriot wife and demanded political asylum as well as the release of all female prisoners in Egypt. The hijacker has been described by Cypriot authorities as "mentally unstable" and was reportedly arrested twice in 2009 and 2010 over forgery and impersonation. Investigations are ongoing to determine how he bypassed security at Alexandria airport.