KANO, Nigeria - The death toll from co-ordinated gun and bomb attacks in northern Nigeria has risen to at least 178, a doctor in its main hospital said on Sunday, making this by far the deadliest attack claimed by the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram.
"We have 178 people killed in the two main hospitals," the senior doctor in Kano's Murtala Mohammed hospital said following Friday's attacks, citing records from his own and the other main hospital of Nasarawa.
Smoke rises from the police headquarters after it was hit by a blast in Kano, Nigeria on Friday.
"There could be more, because some bodies have not yet come in and others were collected early."
The attacks started Friday afternoon after Muslim prayers and as shops closed for the weekend.
In a statement, federal police spokesman Olusola Amore said attackers targeted five police buildings, two immigration offices and the local headquarters of the State Security Service, Nigeria's secret police.
A Boko Haram spokesman using the nom de guerre Abul-Qaqa claimed responsibility for the attacks in a message to journalists. He said the attack came as the state government refused to release Boko Haram members held by the police.
The terror group has carried out increasingly sophisticated and bloody attacks in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people.
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, is responsible for at least 510 killings last year alone, according to the Associated Press.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.