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News Digest: Islamic terrorist who killed four hostages buried in Paris suburbs

By Staff Reporters

Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four hostages at a kosher supermarket and a policewoman earlier this month, before being killed by police himself, has been buried in a suburban cemetery, officials said.

The burial came after a debate over how to handle the bodies of Coulibaly and two other gunmen behind France's worst terrorist attack in decades. All three were killed by police. Officials in some towns had objected to burying the gunmen, fearing the graves could become extremist shrines. Paris officials said Coulibaly was buried in the Muslim section of the cemetery in Thiais. No markings indicate his grave.

Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, were buried secretly in unmarked graves in towns outside Paris last weekend.

The burial took place as a leading Muslim group said that at least as many anti-Muslim acts have taken place in France since the terror attacks this month as for all of last year.

The French Council for the Muslim Religion said 128 anti-Muslim actions or threats were reported from January 7-20 - a number that does not include the Paris region. That is compared to 133 in all of France in 2014.

Three Islamic extremist gunmen carried out the attacks, which began on January 7 with the killing of 12 people at the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which lampooned religion and had been threatened repeatedly after publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

Japan prays for IS hostages as deadline to pay ransom expires

Prayers have been offered at the city's largest mosque for two Japanese hostages threatened with beheading by Islamic militants who had demanded a $200m (£133m) ransom for their release.

Militants affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group posted an online warning that the "countdown has begun" for the extremists to kill 47-year-old Kenji Goto and 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa.

The extremists gave Prime Minister Shinzo Abe 72 hours to pay the ransom, and the deadline has now expired.

The posting, which appeared on a forum popular among IS militants and sympathisers, did not show any images of the hostages, who are believed to be held somewhere in Syria.

The status of efforts to free the men was unclear. Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga was asked about the latest message and said Japan was analysing it.

"The situation remains severe, but we are doing everything we can to win the release of the two Japanese hostages."

He said there had been no direct contact with the captors.

Divers retrieve six bodies from wreckage at AirAsia crash site

Divers have been able to enter the fuselage of the AirAsia jetliner that crashed last month into the Java Sea and retrieved six bodies, an official said.

The operations chief at Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi, said the divers spotted some more bodies inside the fuselage.

"Some other bodies are still there but their position among other debris made it difficult for our divers," Mr Supriyadi said.

A total of 65 bodies have been recovered from AirAsia Flight 8501, which crashed on December 28 with 162 people on board while flying from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore. Rescuers have been struggling with strong currents and poor visibility in an attempt to lift the fuselage of the Airbus A320 and what appears to be the plane's cockpit from the seabed at a depth of 100ft (30m).

Bad weather is a suspected factor in the crash and officials of the National Transportation Safety Committee have ruled out sabotage. The pilots asked to climb from 32,000ft to 38,000ft to avoid threatening clouds, but were denied permission.

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