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Islamic Leaders Call for Protests After Pakistani Attack on School


Islamic leaders in Pakistan are calling for demonstrations Tuesday to protest the government's attack on a religious school near the border with Afghanistan.

Islamic politicians in Pakistan say the airstrike on the seminary (or madrassa) in Chingai, near the Afghan border, killed innocent women and children. They say the U.S. was behind the attack.

Protesters staged demonstrations on Monday in Karachi and Khar, the town closest to Chingai. In Khar, protesters shouted "Death to Bush" and "Death to Musharraf" (referring to Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf).

Officials in Pakistan say the seminary was training Islamic terrorists. They say Pakistani helicopter gunships destroyed the school, killing up to 80 militants.

Security officials say a militant commander (Liaquat Hussain) with links to al-Qaida was also killed in the attack.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been under pressure to move against Islamic militants who allegedly cross into Afghanistan to stage attacks and destabilize the country.

Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden is said to be hiding in a Pakistani border area.

After Monday's attack, Britain's Prince Charles - on a week long visit to Pakistan - canceled a visit to Peshawar in the northwest, on the advice of Pakistan's government.

Earlier, he praised Pakistan's efforts to fight terrorism.

Across the border in Afghanistan, a spokesman for the NATO alliance said 55 insurgents and one NATO soldier were killed in a battle today in southern Afghanistan.

NATO forces have been confronting Taleban insurgents in Afghanistan.

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

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