Apparently, rioters enraged by a reported Koran burning in Florida stormed a UN office in northern Afghanistan and killed eight UN workers. Some were beheaded. This is just awful.
Afghan officials say eight people have been killed at a United Nations office in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif when a protest turned violent in response to a reported Quran-burning in the United States. At least two of those killed were beheaded, Reuters reported.
Demonstrators stormed the office Friday, opening fire on guards and setting fires inside the compound after reports that a Florida pastor burned a copy of the Muslim holy book on Sunday, March 20.
The burning reportedly happened at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., according to USA Today. The incident was said to have occurred at a mock trial overseen by the controversial pastor who last year halted plans to burn a Quran on the anniversary of Sept. 11. That proposal sparked protests and condemnation around the Muslim world.
Update: The death toll is now at 12.
Update: Senator Kerry responds:
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the following statement today in response to the killing of UN workers in Mazar-i-Sharif:
“I am saddened and angered by the deaths of the United Nations workers in Afghanistan today. We and the Afghan people owe a debt of gratitude to the people who risk their lives to make Afghanistan a better place. Instead, an angry mob took out its rage on selfless public servants and innocent bystanders who had no connection to the desecration of a Koran by a radical figure in Florida. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and with all aid workers who put their lives on the line every day.”