Gunmen take over EU office in cartoon row

MASKED gunmen today took over a European Union office to protest at a Danish newspaper's publication of cartoons deemed insulting to Islam's prophet Mohammad.

The raid is the latest in a wave of violent denunciations of the caricatures across the Islamic world.

The gunmen demanded an apology from Denmark and Norway, and said citizens of the two countries would be prevented from entering the Gaza Strip.

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The 12 drawings, published last September by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and republished in a Norwegian paper this month, included an image of the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse.

Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones. The cartoons have sparked protests, flag burnings and boycotts of Danish products throughout the Muslim world. Yesterday, Palestinian protesters burned Danish flags in West Bank towns.