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Pakistani Tribesmen Protest Air Raid Against Religious School


Tribesmen in Pakistan have again staged angry demonstrations in a remote area near the Afghan border against a military raid that killed 80 people at a religious school.

About 10,000 tribesmen rallied Saturday in the tribal district of Bajaur, where the madrassa was destroyed Monday in a Pakistani air attack.

On Wednesday, the U.S.-based organization Human Rights Watch called for the Pakistani government to allow an independent investigation into the air raid.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said that all of the people killed in the attack were militants undergoing terror training. But local politicians say those killed were innocent people, including students and teachers.

A security official says that al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri, and the al-Qaida mastermind of the foiled London airliners plot, Abu Ubaidah al-Masri, frequently visited the madrassa. But he said they were not there during the raid.

General Musharraf said the militants had been under surveillance for a week, and that Pakistani forces knew exactly who was at the school and what they were doing.

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

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