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Deadly Blast Hits Mall in Nigerian Capital, Killing 22

Aftermath of bomb blast in AbujaAn explosion hit a crowded shopping center in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Wednesday, killing at least 22 people and wounding dozens of others, officials said.

The blast hit Emab Plaza just as people were getting ready to watch Nigeria play against Argentina in the World Cup on the many television sets for sale inside.

Witnesses told Al Jazeera they saw body parts scattered around the entrance of the mall.

Parts of the building and many cars parked outside were completely destroyed by the impact of the explosion.

It was not clear what caused the blast, but suspicion fell on the armed group Boko Haram, which has attacked Abuja twice in the last 10 weeks. A car bombing in April killed 75 people at the Nyanya bus terminal on the city’s outskirts, and a similar bombing at the same spot on May 1 left 19 people dead.

Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Abuja, said an investigation had been launched into the cause of the latest explosion and that security was being beefed up across the capital.

“Nigeria’s security services insist they are winning the war against Boko Haram, but say these kinds of attacks are difficult to stop,” she said.

Wednesday’s explosion came just two days after police blamed Boko Haram for a blast that struck a medical college in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, killing at least eight people.

Boko Haram, which aims to create a state ruled by Islamic law in northern Nigeria, did not immediately claim responsibility but the medical school fit its targets of Western education institutions.

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