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At Least 5 Killed in Shi'ite-Sunni Battle in Afghanistan


Fighting between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims in western Afghanistan Thursday has killed at least five people and wounded about 50 others.

Police say the battle began with a brawl at a refugee camp in Herat, then spread across the city, which lies near the Iranian border. Reports from Herat tell of mosques set on fire and intense fighting between Shi'ites and Sunnis. Sunnis are a large majority of the Afghan population.

The sectarian clash disrupted the Herat Shi'ite community's traditional religious observance of Ashura, which recalls the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussain, more than 1,300 years ago.

One unconfirmed account says fighting began when a group of Sunnis confronted Shi'ites and accused them of tearing up a sacred Sunni flag.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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