Flags were flying at half-mast nationwide for the 150 dead as political and religious leaders were to join hundreds of bereaved relatives at a midday (1000 GMT) service at Cologne's
historic cathedral.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck will attend the ecumenical service in the western city along with Spain's Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz and
French Transport Minister Alain Vidalies.

Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr will also attend, as will three executives of its low-cost subsidiary Germanwings, Thomas Winkelmann, Axel Schmidt and Oliver Wagner, the company

About 1,500 guests are expected for the service, among them 500 relatives of the victims, in northern Europe's largest Gothic church, which will also be broadcast live on screens outside the cathedral and to viewers nationwide.

Ursula Mund, 53, cited she would be among those watching on the large square in the city centre.

"Of course this is a special occasion. We have all talked a lot about what happened and are still baffled by it," she added.

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