CAIRO — All 109 passengers and crew members on board a hijacked Libyan airliner en route to the capital, Tripoli, were released on Friday, hours after two men claiming to be carrying explosives forced the plane to divert to Malta, Malta’s prime minister said.
The hijackers, who were apparently members of a group that supported Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and seeking asylum in Europe, were taken into custody after surrendering as they left the Airbus A320, according to officials and news reports.
The flight, operated by the state-owned Afriqiyah Airways of Libya, took off from the southern Libyan city of Sebha and was scheduled to fly to Tripoli, which is on the coast. It was diverted to Malta, about 200 miles across the Mediterranean Sea from the Libyan capital.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of Malta, who provided a steady stream of updates on Twitter about the situation, had said that there were 111 …