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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 March 2006, 08:08 GMT
Iranian in US campus 'car attack'
An Iranian student has been charged with attempting to murder nine people with a car in the US to "avenge the deaths of Muslims", he told police.

Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, 22, drove a rented Jeep into a crowd at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Friday, police said.

Mr Taheri-azar, a graduate of the university, then called police to surrender, officers said.

No-one was seriously hurt in the incident, which the FBI is probing.

Cartoons

Mr Taheri-azar has been charged with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to cause bodily injury.

There is no indication whatsoever that he acted in any way other than alone
Derek Poarch,
university police chief

Police said he drove the Jeep Cherokee into a pedestrian plaza close to two libraries and the student union block at the centre of the campus.

Derek Poarch, chief of the university's police department, told the Associated Press news agency Mr Taheri-azar had said he wanted to "avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world".

Mr Taheri-azar is being held in a prison in nearby Raleigh and will appear in court on Monday.

Mr Poarch said Mr Taheri-azar said he had told police they would find out more about his motives if they searched his home.

Mr Poarch said nothing dangerous had been found in the search but declined to give further details.

"There is no indication whatsoever that he acted in any way other than alone," Mr Poarch said.

Reports say tensions at the university have been high since a campus newspaper printed a cartoon, drawn by a student, depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

A number students staged a sit-in protest at the newspaper offices.


SEE ALSO:
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