(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Israel's UN ambassador signed a condolence book Friday for victims of this week's terrorist bombings in the Algerian capital despite Israel's lack of relations with the north African nation.
"I think that Israel is showing its sympathy for the victims of terror wherever they are, in this particular case in Algeria," Ambassador Dan Gillerman told The Associated Press.
"Algeria does not recognize Israel and has not even made any steps towards normalizing its relations with Israel, as opposed to Morocco and even Tunisia to some extent," he said. "Algeria's always been much more militant and much less friendly, but when it comes to moments like this I think the human side overrides everything else."
The United Nations put out two condolence books shortly before deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe announced that the death toll in the bombing of UN offices in Algiers had risen to 17. Algeria's Interior Ministry put the official death toll in the bombings at the UN offices and an Algerian government building at 37.
Al-Qaida's self-styled North African branch claimed responsibility for Tuesday's near simultaneous attacks.
"Our deep sympathy and condolences to the Algerian people and the families of the victims of this vicious terror attack," Gillerman wrote in the condolence book, signing his name and title.
Afterwards, he said, "I think that one of the most horrendous elements of terrorism, and which I'm not sure the Arab and Muslim world has fully awakened to, is the fact that not only are most terrorists Muslim, but the vast majority of victims are Muslim."
"We've just seen it now in Algeria. We're seeing it in Morocco. We're seeing it in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Sharm el-Sheik and in Amman," Gillerman said.
"I think that terror is terror and it is horrible wherever it happens, and we feel very, very sad for the Algerian people who have to live through this as well as for the families of the victims including UN families," he said.
"The UN was there to do a good job ... in a very difficult place and paid a very high price," Gillerman said.
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