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2 killed in Afghan protest over Quran-burning plan

By the CNN Wire Staff
Afghan protesters in Jalalabad shout slogans in a Friday demonstration against a pastor's plan to burn the Quran.
Afghan protesters in Jalalabad shout slogans in a Friday demonstration against a pastor's plan to burn the Quran.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • An injured protester dies of their wounds
  • Afghan security forces opened fire to prevent protesters from breaking into government offices
  • Afghans were protesting against a Florida pastor's plan to burn Islam's holy book
  • The pastor, Terry Jones, called off the protest at the last minute

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least two people were killed and four were injured in Afghanistan Sunday in protests against the pastor who had planned to burn the Quran in Florida, a local official said.

On Saturday the pastor of the Florida church said the planned burning of the Quran had been canceled.

"We will definitely not burn the Quran," the Rev. Terry Jones told NBC's "Today." "Not today, not ever."

Demonstrations against the plan began in Afghanistan before Jones made his announcement.

About 600 people were at the protest which turned deadly Sunday, a spokesman for the governor of Logar province said.

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Afghan security forces opened fire to prevent demonstrators from entering the offices of the governor of Baraki Barak district, Din Mohammad Darwish said.

He originally said one person was killed and five were wounded, but one of the injured later died, he said.

The protest lasted about three hours, he said.

And Iranian students plan to protest against the canceled Quran-burning on Monday, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The group organizing the protest is the Union of Islamic Associations of Independent Students, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Demonstrators will gather outside the Swiss Embassy in Iran's capital, Tehran, on Monday afternoon. Switzerland represents American interests in the Islamic republic because Washington and Tehran have no diplomatic relations.

The planned Quran burning -- initially scheduled for the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States -- had sparked international condemnation.

The burning had been planned at the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, for Saturday.

Jones arrived in New York late Friday night and was working to set up a meeting with the imam in charge of the New York Islamic center planned near ground zero.

The planned meeting, Jones had said, helped persuade him to halt the planned burning.

Jones' plan triggered expressions of concern from U.S. military leaders, who said the event would imperil the lives of troops abroad.

President Barack Obama said Friday that the idea that "we would burn the sacred texts of someone else's religion is contrary to what this country stands for."

He said he hoped Jones "prays on it" and refrains from doing it.

The government has to send a "very clear message" that burning the Quran would endanger U.S. troops and serve as a major recruiting tool for al Qaeda, Obama added.

CNN's Shirzad Bozorgmehr and journalist Matiullah Mati contributed to this report.

 
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