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Hardee’s, KFC in Lebanon torched during Islamists’ protests

Jessica Stanton Contributor
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Two U.S. fast food restaurants were targets of violent protests Friday in the Lebanese city of Tripoli. Protesters burned and looted a Hardee’s and a KFC that shared the same building.

Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon and an anti-Muslim film that has sparked outrage across the Middle East set off a mob that set the modern structure ablaze.

According to Reuters, protesters were heard shouting, “We don’t want the pope” and “No more insults [to Islam].” Rioters threw stones at the restaurants, and at Lebanese security forces, who responded with gunfire and teargas.

One protester was killed and two others were wounded.

The violent outburst came as the Pope began a three-day visit to Lebanon on Friday. Christians make up about 40 percent of the Lebanese population, the largest such contingent in the Arab world.

The pope landed at Beirut’s airport, calling Lebanon an oasis of “coexistence and respectful dialogue between Christians and their brethren of other religions.”

The YouTube video has sparked violent protests U.S. diplomatic embassies across the region, with the worst coming in Libya, where the U.S. ambassador and three Americans were killed Wednesday. The Obama administration has attracted widespread criticism by calling on YouTube to remove the video from its Web servers.