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Germanwings co-pilot was 'obsessed' with the Alps

Andreas Lubitz running during the Aerportrace in Hamburg, Germany Credit: PA Wire

Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz who crashed a plane in the French Alps was "obsessed" with the region and took gliding holidays there.

Lubitz took lessons at a school in Montabaur, his home town, in holidays from the age of nine according to the French newspaper Le Parisien.

Member of the Sisteron school Dieter Wagner said that he was "passionate about the Alps and even obsessed [with them]".

Mr Wagner said that Lubitz knew the crash area well and he had last seen him several years ago when he took part in a course with his niece.

Lubitz deliberately crashed the Germanwings flight 4U 9525, killing all 150 people on board, according to investigation reports.

Somalia's ambassador to Geneva killed in attack

Somalia's ambassador to Geneva is among the dead and at least 20 others are wounded, Colonel Farah Aden, a senior police officer at the scene, told Reuters.

He added: "Those who died include civilians, hotel guards and government soldiers."

Capital of Somalia Mogadishu. Credit: PA

Al Shabaab fighters blasted and shot their way into the popular Hotel Maka Al Mukaram on Friday afternoon, trapping many government officials.

Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu between 2007 and 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia's capital and other major cities by African Union forces.

Security personnel, led by a unit from the elite US-trained special forces troops known as "Gaashaan" (Shield) stormed the hotel on Friday evening and fought the attackers into Saturday.


Al-Shahab claims responsibility for Somalia attack

Residents evacuate an injured boy after Islamist group al-Shabaab attacked the Maka Al-Mukarama hotel in Mogadishu Credit: Reuters

An Islamic extremist group linked to al Qaida has claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in Somalia that has left at least 17 people dead.

Somali troops have taken control of the Maka Al-Mukarramah hotel in the capital Mogadishu where Al-Shahab gunmen were holed up for more than 12 hours.

The hotel is popular with Somali government officials and foreigners.

Report: 'Dozens of Saudi and foreign diplomats evacuated'

An operation to evacuate dozens of Saudi and foreign diplomats from the southern Yemeni port city of Aden was launched by Saudi Arabia's navy, according to state television

"The Saudi Royal Navy implemented an operation called Hurricane to evacuate dozens of diplomats, including Saudis, from Aden," the broadcaster said.

Yemen's Houthi rebels made broad gains in the country's south and east on Friday despite a second day of Saudi-led air strikes m

At least 15 people killed in attack on hotel in Somalia

The number of people killed during an attack by Islamist militants on a hotel in the Somali capital has to at least 15, police said as fighting continued with loud explosions heard overnight.

"At least 15 people died including Somalia's ambassador to Geneva, and at least 20 others were wounded," Colonel Farah Aden, a senior police officer at the scene, told Reuters.

He added: "Those who died include civilians, hotel guards and government soldiers."


War planes attack rebels in Yemen's capital Sanaa

A Saudi-led coalition has launched attacks against Yemen's Shiite Houthi group. Credit: Reuters/Nabeel Quaiti

War planes attacked Yemen's capital Sanaa through the night until dawn, residents of the city told Reuters.

"There were planes strikes all through the night and stopped at dawn," said a resident in Sanaa, adding that explosions were heard in an area west of the capital were a government national guard base was located.

There was no detail on whether the planes belonged to the Saudi-led coalition which has launched attacks against Yemen's Shiite Houthi group in support of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Ban Ki-moon urges Nigerian's to vote 'in large numbers'

Nigerians will decide between incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. Credit: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on all Nigerians to go to the polls in large numbers as the country decides between incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and his rival Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement released by his spokesperson’s office, Mr Ban commended both parties for their commitment to respect the outcome of the elections and called on the candidates and their supporters to resolve disputes that may arise from the electoral process through peaceful means.

“The success of the polls is the responsibility of all Nigerian actors: the electoral authorities, security agencies, political parties, candidates, religious leaders, civil society and voters,” Mr Ban said in the statement.

The Secretary-General’s statement also expressed hope that the elections will be transparent, inclusive, and peaceful.

“The international community has high expectations that Nigeria will provide leadership in setting a high standard for this election,” he added.

The polls in Nigeria's presidential election open at 0700 GMT and close at 1700 GMT.

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