At least seven people have been killed as protesters, outraged by a Koran-burning incident at a NATO base, stormed a US consulate in western Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in the eastern province of Khost protesters have set fire to 20 NATO trucks.
The four days of violent anti-American protests have already left 13 dead and dozens injured.
Seven people were killed and some 50 wounded on Friday during a bid to storm the US consulate in the city of Herat. Two more protesters have been killed in Kabul, two in the east of the country and one in the north.
Also on Friday hundreds of demonstrators have descended on the presidential palace in Kabul. A crowd of angry protesters threw stones at police and chanted “Death to America!” and “Long live Islam!” after they left the city’s Blue Mosque following Friday prayers.
A 700-strong crowd also gathered in the eastern city of Jalalabad and the volatile southeastern province of Ghazni. Demonstrators chanted “We will defend the Koran!”
US embassy officials in Kabul have urged calm through their Twitter feed.
“I call on everyone…to exercise patience and restraint as we continue to gather the facts surrounding Sunday night’s incident,” US embassy Twitter quoted General John R. Allen, who is in command of the International Security Assistance Force(ISAF) and of US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A).
On Thursday, Barack Obama apologized for the incident which took place at Bagram base on Sunday, but this did not pacify outraged Afghans. On the same day, the Taliban urged Afghans to attack Western military bases in retaliation.
Al-Qaeda has echoed the Taliban’s calls, telling its followers to target military hubs and kill westerners following the desecration of the Muslim sacred book, a crime that carries the death penalty in Afghanistan.
US officials claim the texts seized from arrested Afghans were burned unintentionally. As the information on the burning became public, thousands rallied across the country chanting “Death to America!”
Meanwhile, Lebanese group Hezbollah said the incident was the result of strong Israeli influence on the US.
“We should search for the Israeli mentality that stands behind various practices in the world. Take for example the burning of Korans,” Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Friday.
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