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Six Soilders Die In Boko Haram Attack

Six soldiers from Niger’s army were killed in an ambush by Boko Haram militants, the country’s interior ministry said.

The attack happened near the town of Diffa close to the border with Nigeria early on Wednesday.

It comes two weeks after a Boko Haram assault on a military convoy in the same area that left one soldier dead. The Islamist group is based in Nigeria but is being tackled by a multinational force, including soldiers from Niger.

In the latest attack, three other soldiers were wounded. Niger’s military deployed aircraft to try and track those responsible soon afterwards. Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has been praised in the West for rallying neighbouring countries to fight Boko Haram.

On Wednesday, the country’s constitutional court confirmed the result of the second round of presidential elections, which saw Mr Issoufou re-elected with more than 92% of the vote, a result the opposition dismissed. Mr Issoufou will be sworn in on Saturday.

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French National Found To Have Unprecedented Amount Of Weapons

A French national arrested in Paris last week had an “unprecedented” amount of weapons and was planning an act of “extreme violence”, officials say.

Prosecutors have charged 34-year-old Reda Kriket over an alleged plot to carry out an attack. In his apartment, police found five assault rifles, seven handguns and the same type of explosive used in the attacks in Paris and Brussels.

Kriket has been linked to the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks. The possible target of the alleged plan was not identified, but Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said the attack was imminent.

In Kriket’s flat in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil, officials also found chemicals, false passports, brand-new mobile phones and two computers with information about bomb-making and jihadist groups, Mr Molins added.

The arsenal also included the TATP explosive that was used in suicide bombs set off in Paris and Brussels by militants linked to so-called Islamic State (IS). “Everything suggests that the discovery of this cache avoided an act of extreme violence by a terrorist network,” Mr Molins told a news conference.

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‘Indian spy’ Arrested In Pakistan

India has rejected Pakistan’s claims that it has arrested an “Indian spy” in the restive Balochistan province. Pakistani authorities on Tuesday released a video in which the man is shown confessing that he was involved in spying activities. “There can be no clearer evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan,” army spokesman Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa said.

Delhi said the man was an Indian national, but dismissed spying charges and said he was “clearly tutored”. “Government categorically rejects allegations that this individual was involved in subversive activities in Pakistan at our behest,” India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a statement to media.

Mr Swarup added that India was “concerned” about the arrested man’s well-being and added that “it is also relevant to note here that despite our request, we have not been given consular access to an Indian national under detention in a foreign country, as is the accepted international practice”. Pakistan officials have said the man was a serving Indian navy officer and was trying to “sponsor terrorism” in Balochistan. “If an intelligence or an armed forces officer of this rank is arrested in another country, it is a big achievement,” Lt-Gen Mr Bajwa said.

Cyprus Court Detains EgyptAir Hijacker

An Egyptian man accused of hijacking and forcing a plane to land in Cyprus on Tuesday using a fake suicide belt has appeared in court in Cyprus.

The Larnaca court ordered an eight-day detention for Seif Eldin Mustafa. Possible charges include air piracy, kidnapping and threatening behaviour.

He did not speak, but gave a victory sign as he was driven away by police. Cypriot authorities have described him as “psychologically unstable”, saying the incident was not terrorism-related.

EgyptAir flight MS181 was carrying 56 passengers from Alexandria to Cairo, along with six crew and a security official, when it was diverted to Cyprus. During a stand-off lasting more than six hours, almost all passengers and crew were freed unharmed as authorities negotiated with Mr Mustafa. One person, apparently a crew member, climbed out of a cockpit window, minutes before the suspect walked calmly out of the plane to surrender.

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Hijack Of EgyptAir Flight Not Terror Related

Most of the passengers on board a hijacked Egyptian airliner that was forced to divert to Cyprus have been freed, the airline says.

EgyptAir Flight MS181 was taken over after a passenger said he was wearing an explosives belt.

Reports say the lone hijacker wants to talk to his estranged Cypriot wife, who is now on the way to the airport. Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters the hijack was not a terrorist incident. “We are doing our upmost in order for everyone to be released and safe,” he added.

In response to a reporter’s question about whether the hijacker was motivated by romance, he laughed and said: “Always there is a woman involved.”

EgyptAir said negotiations at Larnaca airport had resulted in the release of all those on board, apart from the crew and four foreign passengers.

More people have subsequently been seen leaving the aircraft. It remains unclear precisely how many people are still on board. EgyptAir said the Airbus A320 was carrying 81 passengers from Alexandria to Cairo.

A senior Alexandria airport official said those on board the flight when it took off included eight Americans, four Britons, four Dutch, two Belgians, one Italian and 30 Egyptians.
“The pilot said that a passenger told him he had an explosives vest and forced the plane to land in Larnaca,” the Egyptian civil aviation ministry said in a statement. Larnaca airport, on the south coast of Cyprus, has been closed and scheduled flights diverted elsewhere.