Israeli Special Forces teams have been given the green light for anti-terrorism operations in Nigeria after the country¹s president accepted an offer of help to find hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls.

A demonstrator at a protest near the Nigerian High Commission in London, May 9th. Photo: PA

A demonstrator at a protest near the Nigerian High Commission in London, May 9th. Photo: PA

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the orders after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan agreed to the intervention following a discussion between the two leaders.

‘Israel expresses its deep shock at the crime committed against the girls,’ said Netanyahu in a statement. ‘We are willing to help assist.’

The Israelis will start work immediately, operating alongside British and American units to help find more the 276 girls abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram last month. French, Chinese and Spanish offers have also been made.

Leaders of the radical Islamist group, whose name means ‘Western education is sinful,’ have boasted about orchestrating the hostage-taking in the north-east of the country and have threatened to sell the girls into slavery.

The girls’ plight has been headline news for several weeks, with Nigerian authorities heavily criticised for not doing enough to trace more than 276 girls being held.

The active involvement of the elite teams follows an appeal from Michelle Obama to find and free the children, after America’s First Lady used her husband’s weekly broadcast to push for action.

Israeli operatives are no strangers to Africa, most recently having been involved in the counter-terrorism operation in Nairobi, working alongside Kenyan police to free hostages after Al-Shabaab militants seized a shopping mall in the capital.