[UPDATE] 4-1 2:03pm - WASHINGTON (AP) --
President Barack Obama is condemning the attack on a United Nations office in northern Afghanistan Friday.
In a statement, Obama offered his condolences to those injured
and killed, as well as their families. At least eight foreigners
and four Afghan protesters were killed when a demonstration outside
the office turned violent.
The demonstrators were protesting a reported burning of the
Muslim holy book.
Obama thanked the United Nations officials, including Afghan
staff, for the work they undertake in support of the Afghan people.
He said their work is essential to building a stronger Afghanistan.
(CNN) -- 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 this month, authorities and a U.N. source with knowledge of the events said.
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 "put the Koran on trial. The event is over, the Koran was found guilty and a copy was burned inside the building."
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.
"The situation is still confusing and we are currently working to ascertain all the facts and take care of all our staff," he said.
Initial indications are that knives and small arms were used in the attack, according to a U.N. spokesman who declined to be named.
The United Nations' special representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, was on his way to Mazar-e Sharif to assess the situation, McNorton said.
Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida makes a statement.
"In regard to the riots that have just taken place in Afghanistan at the UN headquarters, the actions of breaking in, setting on fire, and killing of at least 10 individuals so far is highly unacceptable for the government of the United States."
"We, at Stand Up America Now, find this a very tragic and criminal action. The United States government and the United Nations itself, must take immediate action. 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. The time has come to hold Islam accountable."
"Our United States government and our President must take a close, realistic look at the radical element Islam. Islam is not a religion of peace. It is time that we call these people to accountability. We demand that our United States government stand up and speak out against these acts. These people must be called to justice."
"We demand action from the United Nations. Muslim dominated countries can no longer be allowed to spread their hate against Christians and minorities. They must alter the laws that govern their countries to allow for individual freedoms and rights, such as the right to worship, free speech, and to move freely without fear of being attacked or killed."
- Dr. Terry Jones
Dove World Outreach Center website on "Judge the Quran" Day: http://www.standupamericanow.org/judge