Afghan protesters launch deadly attack on UN compound

Afghan protesters launch deadly attack on UN compound

Over a thousand protesters had flooded into the streets of the normally peaceful city after Friday prayers to denounce the burning of Islam's holy book, the Koran, by a US pastor, and after two or three hours violence broke out. Police fired into the air in an unsuccessful bid to control the crowd.

A United Nations spokesman confirmed employees had been killed but declined to comment on numbers of dead or their nationalities, saying reports from the scene were confusing.

Two of the dead were beheaded by attackers who also burned parts of the compound and climbed up blast walls to topple a guard tower, said Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, a police spokesman for the northern region.

It is believed to be the deadliest ever attack on the UN in Afghanistan.

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