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Pakistanis Protest Deadly Air Strike

  • VOA News

Thousands of people have rallied in Pakistan to condemn a purported U.S. airstrike that killed at least 18 civilians in a tribal region but reportedly missed the apparent target -- Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Up to 10 thousand people marched through the country's biggest city, Karachi, Sunday chanting anti-American slogans. Smaller protests were held in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and elsewhere.

Pakistan's government strongly condemned Friday's air strike in the village of Damadola and summoned U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker to protest. In Washington, Republican Senator John McCain defended the attack that was reportedly carried out by CIA-operated drone aircraft. He said that although the loss of innocent life is regrettable, the United States must do whatever necessary to eliminate al-Qaida operatives. Pakistani officials say al-Zawahiri was not in the village at the time. They say they are checking reports that at least seven extremists were among the dead.

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