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Thousands Rally In Pakistan To Protest Alleged U.S. Strike

15 January 2006 -- Thousands of people have rallied across Pakistan to protest against a purported U.S. air strike that killed at least 18 people on Pakistani territory.

the country's biggest city, Karachi, about 10,000 people chanted slogans such as "Stop bombing against innocent people."

Hundreds of riot police were deployed in the streets but the rally ended after an hour with no reports of clashes or violence.

Islamists called for the nationwide rallies following the 13 January attack in a village near the Afghan border.

News agencies, citing unidentified sources in the U.S. intelligence community, reported that the strike was aimed at top Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri. They also cite two unnamed senior Pakistani officials as saying al-Zawahiri was not at the site of the attack.

Pakistan has filed a formal protest with the U.S. Embassy. The U.S. Defense Department has denied any involvement in the attack.

(AP, Reuters)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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