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Hezbollah leader stokes anger over video

BEIRUT -- In a rare public appearance, the leader of the militant Hezbollah group exhorted hundreds of thousands of supporters yesterday to keep up the campaign against an anti-Islam video that has unleashed deadly violence and anger at the United States across the Muslim world.

The massive, well-organized rally in Beirut was peaceful, but protesters in Afghanistan set fires near a U.S. military base, clashed with police in Pakistan, where a demonstrator was killed, and battled with officers outside the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.

The turmoil surrounding the low-budget video that mocks the prophet Muhammad showed no sign of ebbing in the week after protesters first swarmed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. In Libya, four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, died amid a demonstration in the eastern city of Benghazi.

At least 10 protesters have died in the riots, and the targeting of Western diplomatic sites has forced Washington to increase security in several countries. Diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut destroyed classified material as a security precaution, according to a State Department status report.

The appeal for sustained protests by Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah group, could stoke more fury over the video, "Innocence of Muslims." Nasrallah has rarely been seen in public since his group battled Israel in a monthlong war in 2006, fearing assassination. Since then, he has communicated mostly via satellite link.

He spoke for about 15 minutes before a rapturous crowd estimated by police at 500,000, many with headbands of green and yellow, the colors of Hezbollah, and the words "at your service God's prophet" written on them.

Nasrallah, who last appeared in public in December 2011 to mark the Shia holy day of Ashoura, warned of serious repercussions if the United States does not ban the film and have it removed from the Internet.

"The world should know that our anger is not a passing thing . . . This is the start of a serious campaign that must continue all over the Muslim world in defense of the prophet of God," he said to roars of support.

Protests turned violent for the first time in Afghanistan as hundreds of people burned cars and threw rocks at a U.S. military base in Kabul. Many in the crowd shouted "Death to America!" and "Death to those people who have made a film and insulted our prophet."

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