An EgyptAir plane was hijacked on Tuesday and forced to land in Cyprus, setting off a hostage crisis at Larnaca airport.
The man who claimed to be wearing a suicide explosives belt threatened to bomb the plane, the Egyptian pilot said.
EgyptAir said the hijacker released all people on board except four foreign passengers. The Airbus 320, flying between Alexandria and Cairo, had 60 passengers and crew on board.
The hijacker, whose wife is a Cypriot, may have personal motives, Reuters reported citing Cyprus broadcasting (CYBC).
EgyptAir said it was negotiating with the hijacker. "The negotiations with the hijacker have resulted in the release of all the plane passengers with the exception of the crew and five foreigners," the airline said in a statement.
Egyptian state media identified the hijacker as Ibrahim Samaha.
There were eight Britons and 10 Americans among the passengers. Israel scrambled war planes in precaution as the hijack news emerged.