Israel has sent two anti-terror experts to Nigeria to join the search for hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by vicious Islamist group Boko Haram, an Israeli security source said on Tuesday.
"There are in Nigeria two advisers who have dealt with terrorist matters in the past," he told AFP. "They were sent there by the state to help."
The pair were not currently serving as intelligence personnel for the Israeli government.
"They are not soldiers, not officers. They are not part of the security system," the source added.
A total of 223 of 276 girls whom Boko Haram abducted from their school in the remote town of Chibok, Borno state, on April 14 are still missing, and concerns over their fate were heightened after Boko Haram's leader threatened to sell them as slaves.
Street protests were held in Nigeria last week to mark one month since their kidnapping. Days later, the Al Qaeda-linked Boko Haram publicized a video showing some of the kidnapped girls, claiming they had converted to Islam.
Israel has joined the international effort to trace the schoolgirls, and Prime Minister Netanyahu personally pledged to help Nigeria save the missing girls. For its part, Washington has said US troops would stay out of any rescue mission.
Specialist teams from the United States, Britain, and France have been sent to help in the search operation, which Nigeria's military has said is concentrated on the Sambisa forest area of Borno state.
Boko Haram, whose name translates loosely from the Hausa language spoken widely in northern Nigeria as "Western education is sin," has conducted increasingly barbaric attacks on schools, Christian churches and government installations since 2009.
The mass-kidnapping, which took place in April, was not the group's first attack on a school. Just two months previously the group shot and burned to death dozens of students in an attack on a boarding school.
In a similar attack in 2013, Boko Haram terrorists murdered 50 students as they slept in their dormitories. In July of that year 29 pupils and a teacher were burned alive in another school.
This year alone more than 1,500 people have been murdered, despite a state of emergency imposed in three northeast states in May last year.