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Al-Qaida Deputy Leader Calls for Revenge Over Raid at Pakistan Mosque


The deputy leader of al-Qaida has urged Pakistanis to revolt against the government in retaliation for a raid on the Red Mosque in Islamabad that left more than 80 people dead.

In an Internet video posted Wednesday, Ayman al-Zawahri called on Muslims and their clerical leaders to unite in revenge against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. He said the government's raid on the mosque can only be washed away by "repentance or blood."

Earlier Wednesday, Pakistan's chief military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad said all militants have been cleared from the mosque, ending the week-long siege. He told reporters that Pakistani troops are now searching for mines and other booby traps.

Arshad also said Pakistani forces have found 73 dead militants inside the compound. Nine soldiers and the cleric who led the resistance, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, were also killed.

President Musharraf ordered the raid on the radical mosque early Tuesday after talks with religious leaders failed to end a stand-off that began last week.

Pakistani government spokesman, Tariq Azim says the militants put up much stiffer resistance than expected.

General Musharraf is expected to address the nation about the crisis on Thursday.

The Red Mosque was widely regarded as a center of Islamic militancy, and its leaders repeatedly challenged the government's authority in recent months.

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

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