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Suicide bomber on tricycle taxi detonates explosives at World Cup viewing in Nigeria

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Witnesses report that a suicide bomber in a tricycle taxi attacked a World Cub viewing venue in Nigeria

Witnesses have reported that a suicide bomber on a tricycle taxi triggered an explosion that blasted a World Cup viewing center in northeast Nigeria, killing several people.

Hospital workers said the death toll likely will rise with 15 people critically wounded and casualties still coming in at Damaturu, state capital of Yobe state.

Boko Haram Islamic extremists have targeted soccer viewing centers and sports bars in recent weeks, killing at least 40 people in two blasts in northern cities. Witnesses said the tricycle taxi was driven into the outdoor area soon after the Brazil-Mexico match started Wednesday night.

All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals. Nigeria's military has promised increased security but appears incapable of halting a stream of attacks by extremists holding more than 250 schoolgirls hostage.

There is precedent for Boko Haram's attacks on World Cup soccer viewing venues:

The Somali militant group Al Shabab claimed responsibility for a pair of bombings in 2010 that killed 76 people who were watching the World Cup finals at a restaurant and a rugby club in Uganda.

On Sunday, dozens of gunmen hijacked two buses and swept into the Kenyan coastal  town of Mpeketoni as many residents were watching the World Cup in a hall. 

Al Shabab released a statement saying its fighters had burned a police station, bank, hotels and other buildings in the town in revenge for the killings of several clerics in Mombasa, Kenya, and the continued presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday disputed Al Shabab’s claim and blamed “local political networks.”

Soccer is hugely popular on the continent, and such gatherings draw large crowds, especially in poorer communities where few own television sets.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

5:02 p.m.:  Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta's comments Wednesday were added.

4:43 p.m.: This post has been updated with information about previous attacks.

4:23 p.m. :This post has been updated with details about the explosion.

This post was originally published at 4:02 p.m.

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