Hundreds of religious hard-liners chanting "Jihad!" staged rallies Wednesday in a Pakistani town against an army airstrike on a suspected al-Qaida hide-out and claimed it had killed innocent laborers, witnesses said.
About 1,000 supporters of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) party marched through Tank, a city about 160 kilometers north of the scene of Tuesday's attack near the Afghan border in South Waziristan that the army said killed eight militants.
"They killed innocent laborers. There were no foreigners or (militant) training centers," witnesses quoted rally leader Maulana Tahir as saying.
Activists of the JUI, a pro-Taliban Islamic group in the provincial government, chanted, "Jihad! (holy war)" during the protest and "Death to Musharraf!" - referring to Pakistan's military leader, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.