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Blasts hit northern Nigeria churches

A least two explosions shook the town of Zaria in northern Nigeria's Kaduna state on Sunday, the emergency services said, and at least one of them was at a church, a security official said. 

Reuters reported two explosions, while The Associated Press quoted a Nigerian official as saying that a third explosion had rocked the area. There was no explanation for the different accounts but such discrepancies are common in the immediate aftermath of such events.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has often attacked church services in Nigeria, split roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims. 

Witness: Attack on Christians in Nigeria kills at least 15

Boko Haram, which has become increasingly radicalised and meshed with other Islamist groups in the region, including al-Qaida's north African wing, is the leading security threat to Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer and a member of OPEC. 

Regular attacks on Sunday church services are usually claimed by the sect, which says it is fighting to reinstate an ancient Islamic caliphate that would adhere to strict sharia (Islamic law). 

US warns of attacks on Westerners in Nigeria

Islamist militants attacked two churches in Nigeria last Sunday, spraying the congregation of one with bullets, killing at least one person, and blowing up a car in a suicide bombing at the other, wounding 41. 

The Islamists' leader, Abubakar Shekau, has justified attacks on Christians as revenge for killings of Muslims in Nigeria's volatile "Middle Belt", where the largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north meet. 

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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