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Islamic militants attack Nigerian air force base

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 2, 2013 at 9:22 a.m.

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Hundreds of Islamic militants in trucks and a stolen armored personnel carrier attacked an air force base and international airport on the outskirts of a Nigerian city before dawn Monday, officials and witnesses said, possibly leaving scores of people dead in one of the insurgent group's most daring attacks.

A military official who was at the base said he saw three aircraft and several vehicles hit in the attack. The state government quickly ordered everyone to stay home and extended a night-time curfew to 24 hours in Maiduguri, the city near the air base which is also the birthplace of the extremist Boko Haram movement.

The militants also attacked Maiduguri International Airport, the official said, and airlines reported it has been closed. International flights to Maiduguri stopped months ago but domestic flights had continued.

Explosions and automatic gunfire could be heard across the northeastern city from about 2:30 a.m. when the insurgents launched the attack with screams of "Allahu akbar," or "God is great."

Government and military officials said scores of people may be dead. Reporters saw military ambulances ferrying bodies to the hospital morgue.

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