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Death toll in Somali hotel siege rises to 'at least 24'

The death toll following an attack on the Maka Al-Mukarramah hotel in Somalia yesterday has risen to "at least 24", according to reports.

Somali government soldiers take position outside the Maka Al-Mukarama hotel Credit: REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Senior police officer Captain Mohamed Hussein confirmed 18 people were killed in the attack, including one solider. Six gunmen are also believed to have lost their lives as Somali special forces stormed the building to regain control of the hotel.

The attack started around 4pm local time yesterday and lasted 12 hours. Al-Shabaab, an al Qaida-linked Islamic extremist group, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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'Join forces' to unseat Tories,' Sturgeon urges Labour

Nicola Sturgeon has made a direct appeal to Labour to "join forces with us" in a bid to keep the Conservatives out of government after the General Election.

Speaking at her party's Spring conference, Sturgeon said: "If there is a hung Parliament, SNP MPs will vote to stop a Tory Government even getting off the ground.

"I call on Labour, today, to match that pledge - to make clear that if Labour and the SNP combined have more seats than the Tories, they will join forces with us in a vote of confidence to lock David Cameron out of Downing Street," she said.

After huge cheers from the party's amassed membership, Sturgeon added: "If Labour fails to make that commitment, the only conclusion people will draw is that Labour would rather have the Tories back in power than work with the SNP."

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Nigeria's voting period extended

Nigeria have extended the voting period for their current elections until Sunday after reported technical issues at polling stations across the country.

Voters check their name on voters lists pasted on a wall at a polling unit at the beginning of general elections in Daura, northwest Nigeria Credit: REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Information Commissioner Chris Yimoga told journalists: "In polling units where accreditation was suspended to the following day, in accordance with the existing guidelines, arrangements will be made for voters to vote tomorrow."

Sturgeon vows SNP will help 'shake up' Westminster

Nicola Sturgeon has assured the rest of the UK that the Scottish National Party will help "shake up" the political system.

In a speech to the party's Spring conference, Sturgeon said that even though her party still sought independence from the UK, she also aimed to help seize power back from Westminster.

She added that her party would "demand an alternative to slash and burn austerity", but hinted that her party could still wield power in a minority-led House of Commons.

It was as a minority government that we restored free education, abolished prescription charges and froze the council tax.

So we can - and we will - use that experience in a minority led House of Commons to get good things done there too.

– Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader

Family of Captain visit Germanwings crash scene

People identified as the family of the pilot Patrick Sonderheimer pay their respects Credit: Reuters

People identified by the mayor of Le Vernet as family members of the Captain of the Germanwings Airbus A320 reacted with emotion as they paid their respects to the victims.

The family, believed to be of Captain Patrick Sonderheimer, visited the memorial to victims of the air disaster in the village of Le Verne.

The group, thought to be family members of the pilot, laid flowers on the memorial Credit: Reuters

Mr Sonderheimer was locked out of the cockpit by his co-pilot Andreas Lubitz who is said to have deliberately crashed the plane killing a total of 150 people.

The group, thought to be the family of Patrick Sonderheimer, weep at the memorial Credit: Reuters

German tabloid Bild cited security sources saying that the captain took an axe to break down the armoured door.

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