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Libyan Hijacking In Malta Ends With Surrender

The hijacked Airbus A320 operated by Afriqiyah Airways after it landed at Luqa Airport in Valletta on December 23.

The hijackers of a Libyan airliner that was taken to the island nation of Malta have surrendered to authorities.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on December 23 that the two hijackers had been "searched and taken into custody" shortly after releasing the 118 passengers and crew on board.

The hijackers -- who are reportedly supporters of former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi -- had earlier claimed to have hand grenades and threatened to blow up the state-owned Afriqiyah Airways plane if their demands were not met.

It is not known what the hijackers had demanded.

Maltese had surrounded the Airbus A320 plane, as it sat on a runway at the airport in Valletta, the Maltese capital.

All flights in and out of Malta, an EU member country, have been canceled.

The plane took off from the southern Libyan city of Sabha and was due to land in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, before it was diverted to nearby Malta.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP