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Israel to help find kidnapped Nigerian girls

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered to help Nigeria search for hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by extremist Islamist group Boko Haram, an offer that was accepted.

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday offered to help Nigeria search for hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by extremist Islamist group Boko Haram, an offer that was accepted.

A statement from the premier's office said that Netanyahu, currently on an official visit to Japan, made the proposal in a telephone call to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

"Israel expresses its deep shock at the crime against the girls," it quoted Netanyahu as saying.

"We are prepared to help in locating the girls and to fight the cruel terror which has struck you."

Jonathan accepted the offer, a statement from the Nigerian president's office received by AFP in Lagos said.

"President Jonathan welcomed the offer by Mr Netanyahu to send a team of Israeli counter-terrorism experts to assist in the ongoing search and rescue operations," it said.

"The president briefed Mr Netanyahu on actions already being taken by Nigeria's armed forces and security agencies to locate and rescue the girls, saying that Nigeria would be pleased to have Israel's globally acknowledged anti-terrorism expertise deployed to support its ongoing operations."

Boko Haram, whose name is loosely translated as "Western education is forbidden" kidnapped the girls from their dormitory on April 14, and has threatened to sell them.

The abduction caused worldwide outrage and offers of help, including from US President Barack Obama.

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