Nigeria map
Nigeria mapIsrael news photo: Voice of America/US Government

Islamist sect Boko Haram killed more than 160 people Friday in a wave of terror attacks on the Nigerian city of Kano.

Eight buildings – including police headquarters, three police stations, the headquarters of the secret services and the head office of the immigration service – were attacked.

The group officially claimed responsibility for the wave of bombings and gun battles on Saturday by contacting reporters in the northern city of Maiduguri, a Boko Haram stronghold.

Copies of a letter written in the northern Nigerian dialect of Hausa dropped around Kano said the attacks had been launched in retaliation for arrests and killings by police of Boko Haram members.

President Goodluck Jonathan said in a statement, “It is with a heart full of sadness and pain that I convey my condolences... to the families, friends, associates and relatives of all those who lost their lives in the acts of violence in Kano.

“I want to reassure Nigerians... that all those involved in that dastardly act will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”

Hundreds have died over the past year as the Islamist group battles to seize control over the north African nation, a top oil producer. Nigeria's main oil production facilities are located in the southern regions, and so far are not being affected by the attacks, which have increased in intensity over the past several months and primarily in northern regions populated by Muslims.

A particularly fierce attacked carried out this past Christmas Day left 27 people dead at a Roman Catholic church near the country's capital city of Abuja.

Israel has provided Nigeria with medical and other assistance in response to the ongoing terror attacks by Boko Haram over the past year. The two countries have enjoyed warm relations for some time.

Last summer a Nigerian pastor who ministers to a flock of millions around the world visited Israel's Samaria region.