By DION NISSENBAUM
KABUL--A frenzied mob, inflamed by reports of Quran burning in Florida, overran the United Nations office in northern Afghanistan's main city Friday, killing at least eight people, Afghan and UN officials said.
The fatalities in Mazar-e-Sharif included at least three UN staff members, one of them a woman, officials said. Early reports received by two diplomatic officials indicated that two of the victims had been beheaded.
An injured man is carried out of the United Nations office in northern Afghanistan after a violent protest against the burning of a copy of the Quran in a small Florida church.
Staffan De Mistura, the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, was flying to the city, considered one of the safest in the country, to assess the situation after the attack, diplomats said.
The tragedy in Mazar-e-Sharif was the worst to hit the world body in Afghanistan since October 2009, when Taliban militants stormed at UN guest house in Kabul, killing eight people.
The Afghan protests erupted days after President Hamid Karzai condemned as "abhorrent" the burning of Islam's holy book at a ceremony supervised by Florida pastor Terry Jones last month.
Mr. Jones stirred outrage among millions of Muslims and others worldwide after he threatened to burn the holy book last year. The Florida pastor backed down but purportedly went through with the burning in late March.
Demonstrators chanting "Death to America" marched to the UN office in Mazar-e-Sharif after Friday prayers.
Qari Qudrat, a spokesman for the Balkh provincial governor, said that police had arrested several insurgents who grabbed the guns of the UN guards and used them during the attack.
Mazar-e-Sharif is scheduled to be one of the first big cities to be officially turned over to full Afghan security control beginning this July.
—Walid Fazly contributed to this article.