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Violence erupts at protests of anti-Muslim film

By Lee Keath

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Sept. 14 2012 3:31 p.m. MDT

The heaviest violence came in Khartoum, Sudan, where a prominent sheik on state radio urged protesters to march on the German Embassy to protest alleged anti-Muslim graffiti on mosques in Berlin and then to the U.S. Embassy to protest the film.

"America has long been an enemy to Islam and to Sudan," Sheik Mohammed Jizouly said.

Soon after, several hundred Sudanese stormed into the German Embassy, setting part of a building aflame along with trash bins and a car. Protesters celebrated around the burning barrels as black smoke billowed into the sky until police firing tear gas drove them out of the compound. Some then began to demonstrate outside the neighboring British Embassy.

Several thousand then moved via a convoy of buses to the U.S. Embassy on Khartoum's outskirts. They clashed with Sudanese police, who fired on some who tried to scale the compound's wall. It was not clear whether any protesters made it onto the embassy grounds.

The police then dispersed the crowd with tear gas, starting a stampede. Witnesses reported seeing three protesters motionless on the ground, although there was no immediate word whether they were dead or alive.

Islamic militants waving black banners and shouting "God is great!" stormed an international peacekeepers' base in Egypt's Sinai and battled troops, wounding four Colombians, said a senior official with the multinational force. The base near the border with Gaza and Israel houses some 1,500 members of the force, including U.S. troops.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press, said it appeared the attack was connected to the wider protests in the region.

One protester was killed in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli in clashes with security forces after a crowd set fire to a KFC and a Hardee's restaurant. Protesters hurled stones and glass at police in a furious melee that left 25 people injured, 18 of them police.

In his bid to head off the violence, Egypt's Morsi said "it is required by our religion to protect our guests and their homes and places of work."

He called the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya unacceptable in Islam. "To God, attacking a person is bigger than an attack on the Kaaba," he said, referring to Islam's holiest site in Mecca.

Morsi's speech came after Obama spoke with him by telephone. The Obama administration has been angered by Morsi's slow response to the attack Tuesday night on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, and the Egyptian made little more than vague statements about it for days without an outright condemnation of the security breach, in which police did nothing to stop protesters from climbing the embassy walls.

His silence reflected the heavy pressure that Morsi, a longtime figure from the Muslim Brotherhood, faces from Egypt's powerful ultraconservative Islamists. They are using the film issue to boost their own political prominence while challenging Morsi's religious credentials.

Leaders of Egypt's Jihad group, a former militant organization, held a conference in the Egyptian city of Alexandria and said anyone involved in "defamation" of the prophet should be killed. They called on Morsi to cut relations with U.S.

Several hundred people, mainly ultraconservatives, protested in Cairo's Tahrir Square and tore up an American flag. A firebrand ultraconservative Salafi cleric lambasted the film in his sermon, saying Muslims must defend Islam and its prophet.

"With our soul, our blood, we will avenge you, our Prophet," they chanted as police fired volleys of tear gas.

Soldiers opened fire to drive away young Muslims in the central Nigerian city of Jos, witnesses and authorities said, and demonstrators in the county's Muslim north burned a U.S. flag.

Hundreds of hard-line Muslims held peaceful protests against the film throughout Pakistan, shouting slogans and carrying banners criticizing the U.S. and those involved in the film. Police in Islamabad set up barricades and razor wire to prevent protesters from getting to the diplomatic enclave, where the U.S. Embassy and many other foreign missions are located.

About 1,500 protesters in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad shouted "Death to America" and urged President Hamid Karzai to cut relations with the U.S.

Additional reporting by Ahmed Al-Haj in Sanaa, Yemen; Bouazza Ben Bouazza in Tunis; Mohamed Osman in Khartoum, Sudan; Elizabeth A. Kennedy in Beirut; and Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem.

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