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Afghan protesters kill woman over burned Quran

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Thousands of angry protesters in downtown Kabul killed a woman after she was accused of burning a copy of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, inside a shrine, the police said.

Farkhunda, 32, who her family told police was suffering from mental illness, was first stoned to death by protesters, said Gen. Farid Afzal, head of the Criminal Investigation Department.

Her body was then burned and thrown into the Kabul River, Afzal said.

According to an eyewitness, protesters were chanting anti-American and anti-democracy slogans while beating the woman.

Abdul Wahid, 30, a shopkeeper close to the shrine, said the protesters were in such a huge number that they broke a railing at the shrine.

Four suspects have been arrested in connection to the incident. Police officials said an investigation was underway.

The killing outraged many Afghans.

Local shopkeepers near the site of the killing said they cannot believe what they saw.

Shah Jahan, who operates a small stand, pointed to the shrine and said the mob was in the thousands.

In the city's commercial center, people called the killing illegal.

"People should hand her over to the police, so after an investigation a court can decide Farkhunda's punishment," said Jamal Nazari, a clothing vendor.