//Four die in attack on Nato base

Four die in attack on Nato base

British troops rushed to an Afghan town yesterday after protesters, enraged by cartoons satirising the prophet Muhammad, attacked a Nato base with guns and hand grenades. Four demonstrators were killed and at least 18 injured in the bloodiest of dozens of protests across Asia against the controversial Danish cartoons.

Up to 300 protesters tried to storm the base housing 100 Norwegian and Finnish peacekeepers in Maymana, in the north-west of Afghanistan. The Norwegians responded with tear gas and warning shots. As the situation deteriorated, Afghan police opened fire. The injured included two Norwegian and two Finnish soldiers. Some UN staff were evacuated and British troops were sent to protect the airport.

Elsewhere, demonstrators in Iran attacked the Norwegian embassy in Tehran with stones and firebombs. The Iranian commerce minister announced a trade boycott of Denmark, and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the caricatures were a "conspiracy by Zionists angry because of the victory of Hamas" in the Palestinian elections last month.

In Pakistan, thousands of protesters took to the streets shouting, "Hang the man who insulted the prophet". Denmark advised its citizens to leave Indonesia, where its embassy is being stoned daily and there were further protests in Egypt, Yemen, Djibouti, Gaza and Azerbaijan. A newspaper in Croatia became the latest to print the cartoons, which have been printed from Europe to Fiji, and from South Africa to Yemen and Jordan