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12 killed in Afghanistan in response to Florida Quran burning

Photo by Sharra Klug

Photo by Sharra Klug

At least 12 people were killed Friday in an attack on a United Nations building in Afghanistan that followed a demonstration against the reported burning of a Quran in Florida last month.

Eight workers for the U.N. and four Afghans were killed, said Abdul Rauof Taj, security director of Bulkh province. At least 24 people were injured, he said.

The attack followed a demonstration against the reported burning of a Quran this month by Florida pastor Terry Jones, who gained international attention last year with his plans to burn a Quran, the U.N. source with knowledge of events said.

Jones is the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. He canceled plans to burn a Quran last year, on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Last month, however, with far less attention than he attracted last year, Jones reportedly burned Islam's holy book.

The church says on its website that it planned to put the Quran on trial on March 20, and, "if found guilty of causing murder, rape and terrorism, it will be executed!" Another post on the website says "the Koran was found guilty" during the mock trial and "a copy was burned inside the building."

Jones said the attacks show that "time has come to hold Islam accountable."

"We must hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities," he said.

The attack on Friday happened at the operations center of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in Mazar-e Sharif, said Dan McNorton, a U.N. spokesman.