By Colum Lynch UNITED NATIONS — The suicide bombings that ripped apart the U.N. headquarters building in Algiers on Dec. 11 and killed at least 37 people, including 17 U.N. employees, provided a bloody demonstration of the United Nations’ emergence as a key target in al-Qaeda’s global war against the West. This year, al-Qaeda and its affiliates have threatened or targeted U.N. officials and peacekeepers in conflict zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and southern Lebanon, where six U.N. peacekeepers were killed in a bombing in June. Even before the Algiers attack, the United Nations was already investing millions of dollars in fortifying its facilities and convoys in response to threats in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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