UN death toll now 17 in Algiers bombing
The United Nations raised the death toll in the terrorist bombing of its offices in Algeria to 17 on Friday, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon...
The Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations raised the death toll in the terrorist bombing of its offices in Algeria to 17 on Friday, and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged to "spare no effort" to ensure security for U.N. staff around the world.
Algeria's Interior Ministry has put the overall death toll in the bombing at the U.N. offices and an Algerian government building at 37. Al-Qaida's self-styled North African branch claimed responsibility for Tuesday's near-simultaneous attacks.
U.N. deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe announced the new U.N. death toll and said the United Nations did not know of any others still missing in Algiers.
"I stand with the people of Algeria and the wider region in the face of the scourge of terrorism," Ban said in a statement. "This was an attack not only against the United Nations, not only against Algerians, but against humankind itself."
The bombing was the worst attack against U.N. staffers since an August 2003 bombing at the world body's headquarters in Baghdad killed the top U.N. envoy in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and 21 others.
Ban said "words cannot begin to do justice to the grief I feel" about the high U.N. death toll, adding that "a devastatingly high number of innocent Algerians have also perished, as well as nationals from other countries."
Ban said Wednesday the U.N. would remain in Algeria.
"I will spare no effort in ensuring that the United Nations provides adequate security for its staff, wherever they serve," the secretary-general said in Friday's statement. "I will look at all possible ways, with all parts of the system, and with member states, to ensure that this is done."
Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan pulled all U.N. international staff out of Iraq two months after a second bombing at U.N. headquarters in Baghdad. He allowed only a small U.N. contingent to return because of security concerns. The number has remained low since then, and there are currently 65 U.N. staffers in Baghdad.
Ban has asked all U.N. staff worldwide to observe a minute of silence at 10 a.m. EST Monday to honor those who lost their lives in Algeria.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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