At least 12 Christians, including a pastor and a deacon, were killed by unknown gunmen in separate attacks in northern Nigeria on Christmas Eve, International Christian Concern reports. Witnesses said the gunmen also set a church on fire in connection with the attacks. Late on Christmas Eve, gunmen opened fire on the Evangelical Church of West Africa in Peri, killing the pastor and five worshippers. In a separate attack, gunmen attacked worshippers at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, killing a deacon and five church members. The Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the attacks, even though the group has yet to claim responsibility. Boko Haram, which is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria's north, is known to target Christians, their places of worship, and government institutions. Leading up to the Christmas holiday, Christians and government officials had been preparing for potential attacks by Boko Haram, with many Christians considering not attending church services because of the potential of being attacked.