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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 February 2007, 23:31 GMT
Air Mauritania hijack ends safely
Air Mauritania plane after landing in the Canary Islands
Police arrested a man after the plane landed
Passengers and crew overpowered a man who hijacked an Air Mauritania passenger plane, Spanish officials say.

Police arrested the man soon after the Boeing 737 landed at Gando military base in Spain's Canary Islands.

The hijacker seized the jet shortly after take-off from Mauritania's capital, Nouakchott. Police said he was armed with two handguns.

The hijacker's motive was not known but officials in Spain and Mauritania said he had demanded to be flown to France.

In-flight ordeal

Seventy-one passengers - mostly Spaniards and Mauritanians - and eight crew were on the plane, reports from Spain said.

All were released after the flight landed safely at the military strip near Las Palmas city's international airport.

Mauritania map

Twenty-one passengers were injured in the incident, including a pregnant woman who was treated for severe shock.

"It has been liberated," the Associated Press news agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Manuel Cacho as saying. "The hijacker has been detained."

The plane took off from the north-west African nation in the late afternoon.

It tried to land at Dakhla, in Western Sahara, but Moroccan authorities refused permission, security officials said.

The plane was due to land in the northern Mauritanian port city of Nouadhibou, although it is not clear whether that was its final destination.

Country profile: Mauritania
24 Jan 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Mauritania
24 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

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