KHARTOUM (AFP) - Anti-US protests by crowds whipped into fury by a film that mocks Islam erupted across the Muslim world on Friday, as violence exploded in Sudan, Lebanon, Tunisia and Yemen leaving five dead and dozens injured.
The protests broke out when Muslims emerged from mosques following the main weekly prayers to voice their anger at the film made in the United States that ridicules the Prophet Mohammed and belittles the religion he founded.
In Khartoum, guards on the roof of the US embassy fired warning shots as a security perimeter was breached by dozens of Islamic flag-waving protesters, part of a crowd of thousands who had earlier stormed the British embassy and set fire to the German mission, an AFP reporter said.
A police vehicle near the embassy was also torched as hundreds of demonstrators broke through an outer security cordon after one protester was hit by a police vehicle and killed, a medic and the reporter said.
The body of another protester was later found outside the US embassy compound, his clothing soaked in blood, but the circumstances of his death were not immediately clear.
Police had earlier fired volleys of tear gas in a bid to prevent the 10,000-strong crowd marching on the US embassy after they had swarmed over the German mission, attacking its facade and tearing down the flag to replace it with a black Islamist one before torching the building.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso condemned the attacks on the embassies as unacceptable and against "the rules of the civilised world."
"Nothing justifies these kinds of attacks," he said.
Violence also erupted in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, where a crowd of 300 Islamists attacked and set fire to a KFC restaurant, sparking clashes with police in which one person died and 25 were injured, security sources said.
The attack on the US fast-food chain's outlet came as Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Lebanon for a three-day visit, calling for Christian-Muslim coexistence and attacking religious extremism.
In Tunis, police firing live rounds and tear gas drove angry protesters from the US embassy, some of whom had stormed the compound, with clashes there killing at least two people, an AFP journalist reported.
The demonstrators had managed to clamber over a wall after setting several vehicles alight. Protesters also ransacked and torched an American school in the Tunisian capital, the TAP news agency reported.
And with tempers boiling across the Muslim world over the movie since the US ambassador to Libya was killed in an attack on an American consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday, the Pentagon said it has sent a team of Marines to Yemen.
The announcement came as tension spiralled again in Yemen's capital Sanaa, with security forces firing warning shots and water cannon to disperse crowds of protesters trying to reach the US embassy.
Yemeni security forces blocked all roads to the mission, after similar confrontations left four people dead on Thursday, an AFP reporter said.
With much of the anger directed at the United States, where the film was made reportedly by a Coptic Christian and promoted by a rightwing pastor, Washington had earlier ordered security boosted at its embassies worldwide.
In Cairo, where the first protests against the film broke out on Tuesday, protesters again clashed with police outside the US embassy, an AFP reporter said.
Clashes had subsided earlier when police erected a wall of concrete blocks in one road leading to the American compound.
But protesters then moved to a different road where they hurled stones at police who responded with tear gas.
Earlier the Muslim Brotherhood withdrew calls for nationwide protests in response to the film "Innocence of Muslims" that mocks the Prophet Mohammed, saying they would instead take part in a "symbolic" demonstration.
In Iran, meanwhile, thousands of people yelling "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" rallied in central Tehran.
State television showed the crowd streaming out after Friday prayers at Tehran University in which a hardline cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, blamed the United States for the crude film in which actors have strong American accents, portraying Muslims as immoral and gratuitously violent.
Protests spread --
Protests have spread across the Middle East and further afield, including to Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kashmir, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel and the Gaza Strip, Morocco, Syria, Kuwait, Nigeria and Kenya.
Violence also erupted in Asia, with police saying 86 people were arrested after attacking the US consulate in the Indian city of Chennai.
In Kabul, hundreds of Afghan protesters took to the streets, setting fire to an effigy of US President Barack Obama and demanding the death of a film-maker who they say insulted the Prophet Mohammed.
US and Libyan officials, meanwhile, are probing Tuesday's attack on the consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi that killed the ambassador and three other US officials, amid growing speculation it was the work of extremist militants rather than just demonstrators.
Two of the four Americans killed in the assault were former members of the elite Navy SEALs officials identified as Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The harrowing attack also left Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, an information management officer, dead.
Washington sought to keep a lid on the demonstrations by spelling out that the controversial film that set off the violence was made privately by a small group of individuals with no official backing.
The self-proclaimed producer of the film is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55-year-old Copt living in California. It was promoted on the websites of two other Americans, extremist Christian pastor Terry Jones and another Copt, Washington-based lawyer Morris Sadek.
Nakoula told American Arabic-language Radio Sawa that he had no regrets about making the film. "No, I do not regret it. I am saddened by the killing of the ambassador but I do not regret making it," he said on Thursday.