Israel condemned "in the strongest terms"  the terror attacks against three churches in Nigeria on Sunday -- Christmas day -- that killed dozens of people.

Five bombs exploded on Christmas Day at the churches in Nigeria, one killing at least 27 people, raising fears that Islamist militant group Boko Haram - which claimed responsibility - is trying to ignite sectarian civil war.

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"The government of Israel conveys its condolences to the government of Nigeria, the Nigerian people and the families of the victims, and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured," a Foreign Ministry statement read.

The statement said Israel will be providing the Nigerian authorities with medical supplies to treat the injured.

Israel's relations with a number of African countries, including Nigeria, has improved markedly in recent years, partly because of a common interest in battling radical Islamic terrorism.

Boko Haram - which in the Hausa language spoken in northern Nigeria means "Western education is sinful" - is loosely modeled on the Taliban movement in Afghanistan.

The group's low level insurgency used to be largely confined to northeastern Nigeria, but it has struck several parts of the north, center and the capital Abuja this year.

The sect was blamed for dozens of bombings and shootings in the north, and has claimed responsibility for two bombings in Abuja this year, including Nigeria's first suicide bombing on the UN headquarters in August that killed at least 23 people.

Rights groups say more than 250 people have been killed by Boko Haram since July 2010.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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