ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – About 2,000 people chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Denmark" as they rallied in a small town near the Afghan border to protest the Prophet Muhammad cartoons that have sparked violent demonstrations in Muslim countries.
The protesters in Barwand also burned flags of Denmark — where the caricatures were first printed — and torched effigies of the Danish prime minister and President Bush.
About 10,000 people also protested against the cartoons in the southern Iraqi city of Karbala, burning Danish flags and demanding Iraq sever ties with Denmark.
In Denmark, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said authorities have taken "all the necessary steps" to protect the cartoonists who made the prophet drawings. A Pakistani cleric last week offered a $1 million bounty for killing one of them.
Fogh Rasmussen also reiterated he regrets that Muslims worldwide have been offended by the drawings published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, but said his government cannot be held responsible for the actions of its independent press.
"I think it is evident for everyone that this crisis is no longer about the 12 drawings in Jyllands-Posten," the Danish leader said. "It's about everything else and different agendas in the Muslim world. It's obvious that extremist circles exploit the situation."
A Russian newspaper that reprinted the Prophet Muhammad drawings at the center of a wave of protests in the Islamic world has closed, its owner said.
The weekly Nash Region became the second Russian newspaper in a week to shut down amid heightened sensitivities about portrayals of Muhammad. The publications have triggered deadly protests worldwide.
"I shut it down so that it wouldn't become a real instigation for religious strife," owner Mikhail Smirnov told The Associated Press. The paper was based in Vologda, about 500 miles north of Moscow.
In Indonesia, police arrested a member of a hardline Muslim group for allegedly taking part in a violent protest at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, an official said.
Some 400 members of the Islam Defenders Front threw rocks and broke windows at the embassy over the weekend, claiming d wounded more than 100 others.
Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew the government and divided the country into rival, clan-based fiefdoms.
Islamists are increasingly projecting themselves as an alternative to the numerous armed groups running the patchwork of clan-based fiefdoms.
Former warlords who now hold Cabinet positions have described the Islamists as terrorists, accusing them of killing moderate intellectuals, Muslim scholars and former military officials in a string of unexplained murders.
"They set up Islamic courts and they want to terrorize our people under the cover of making peace," Minister for National Security Mohamed Qanyare Afrah said Sunday.
Saturday's fighting began when combatants loyal to the Islamic courts tried to set up a new base near the former military academy. The move was opposed by those loyal to the warlords and armed businessmen, who announced a new alliance to fight the Islamist supporters in this anarchic Horn of Africa nation.
Members of the alliance included Qanyare, Minister for Commerce Muse Sudi Yalahow, Minister for Justice and Religious Affairs Omar Filish, Minister for Rehabilitation of Militia Botan Isse and the businessmen Bashir Ragheh Shirar and Abdirishid Shire Ileqeyte.
They said in a statement they would "eradicate the extremists, terrorists and their supporters so as to pave the way for a peaceful country for the Somali children."
Late Monday, Qanyare's bitter rival — a powerful warlord controlling the temporary seat of government in Jowhar, 90 kilometers (56 miles) northwest of Mogadishu — announced his support for the new alliance.
"After my administration considered what is happening in Mogadishu, we have realized that foreigners are involved in the fighting," Mohamed Dhere told journalists. "We decided to stop this and work against the extremist foreigners."
"I am going to support the alliance that is fighting against the extremists," Dhere said.