December 23, 2016 / 2:40 PM / a year ago

Hijacker of Libyan plane tells Libyan TV he is head of pro-Gaddafi party

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - One of the men who hijacked a Libyan internal flight and diverted it to Malta told Libyan TV on Friday that he was the head of a party supporting late leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The man, who gave his name as Moussa Shaha, told Libya’s Channel TV station by phone that he was the head of Al-Fateh Al-Jadeed, or The New Al-Fateh. Al-Fateh is the name that Gaddafi gave to September, the month he staged a coup in 1969, and the word came to signify his coming to power.

A Libyan lawmaker who spoke to one of the passengers also said the two hijackers were demanding the creation of a pro-Gaddafi party. Images circulating in the media appeared to show a hijacker stepping out of the plane with a green flag similar to those used by Gaddafi supporters.

Gaddafi was toppled and killed in an uprising in 2011.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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