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Five killed during caricature protests

A third Danish Embassy also was attacked as Muslims express rage over drawings of the prophet Mohammed.

By wire services
Published February 7, 2006


Muslim anger over Danish cartoons that satirized the prophet Mohammed continued to swell across Asia and the Middle East on Monday. Five people died during protests over the publication of the cartoons, and another Danish Embassy, this time in the Iranian capital, was attacked with fire.

Afghan troops shot and killed four protesters, some as they tried to storm a U.S. military base outside Bagram . A teenager died in Somalia when police set off a stampede by firing into the air to disperse protesters.

There has been a wave of protests across the Islamic world over caricatures first published in September by Jyllands-Posten , a Danish paper. They have since been reprinted by other media, mostly in Europe. Protests on Monday were also held in Algeria, Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt and Jordan. More than two dozen Muslims offended by the Philadelphia Inquirer 's decision to reprint one of the cartoons picketed the newspaper Monday morning.

The 12 drawings - including one depicting the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb - have touched a raw nerve in part because Islamic law forbids any illustrations of the prophet Mohammed for fear they could lead to idolatry.

The worst of the violence in Afghanistan was outside Bagram, the main U.S. base, with Afghan police firing on some 2,000 protesters as they tried to break into the heavily guarded facility, said Kabir Ahmed, local government chief.

Two demonstrators were killed and 13 people, including eight police, were wounded, he said. No U.S. troops were involved, the military said.

Afghan police also fired on protesters in Mihtarlam after a man in the crowd shot at them and others threw stones and knives, Interior Ministry spokesman Dad Mohammed Rasa said. Two protesters were killed and three people were wounded, including two police, officials said.

Hundreds of angry protesters hurled stones and fire bombs at the Danish Embassy in Tehran before police used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

The building faired better than the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria, which protesters torched Saturday, and the Danish Embassy in Lebanon, which burned Sunday.

Earlier in the day, 200 student demonstrators threw stones at the Austrian Embassy, breaking windows and starting small fires. The mission was possibly targeted because Austria holds the presidencyof the European Union.

The EU issued stern reminders to 18 Arab and other Muslim countries that they are under treaty obligations to protect foreign embassies, and the Bush administration appealed to Saudi Arabia to use its influence among Arabs to help ease tensions in the Middle East and Europe.

Lebanon apologized to Denmark on Monday. The attack "harmed Lebanon's reputation and its civilized image," said Lebanese Information Minister Ghazi Aridi.

Information from the New York Times and Associated Press was used in this report.

[Last modified February 7, 2006, 01:13:13]


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