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U.S. Sees Work of Boko Haram in Blasts in Nigerian City of Jos

Image: Firefighters and rescuers extinguish a fire at the scene of a bomb blast at Terminus market in the central city of Jos
Firefighters and rescuers extinguish a fire at the scene of a bomb blast at Terminus market in the central city of Jos on May 20, 2014. AFP - Getty Images

Two car bombs exploded at a bustling bus terminal and market on Tuesday, killing at least 118 people, wounding dozens and leaving streets strewn with bloodied bodies. A U.S. official said the attack bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamist terror group holding 276 schoolgirls captive.

The explosions rocked the city of Jos, in the center of the country. A police commissioner confirmed the death toll to Reuters, which reported bodies were strewn throughout a stretch of shops and offices, burned beyond recognition.

President Goodluck Jonathan called the perpetrators “cruel and evil.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but a U.S. counterterrorism official told NBC News that the signature of the attack and other details point to Boko Haram.

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Jos, which sits on the divide between sections of Nigeria dominated by Christians and Muslims, has been hit by Boko Haram before. The group is using explosives more often and has set off bombs across northern and central Nigeria.

Boko Haram captured attention around the world by abducting more than 300 Nigerian schoolgirls last month. Most are still being held. The United States and other countries have pledged help to find and free them.

— Robert Windrem and Erin McClam