It actually *is* inside the <>'s. Look carefully. There are 2 a's. One isn't between <>'s (the last one). The first one *is* between them as I showed. Look carefully at it. Yes, it's not between the <a href>'s <>'s. However, *that* is nested INSIDE the <sub>'s brackets. If you look, there is a < before the sub, and the closing > is after that first a.
Look at genius_at_work's comment. He sees what I'm saying. If you looked at the code in a browser, you'd see [a], not a[a].
Note that I didn't correctly write what you'd see if you removed the <a href> in my previous post. By removing just the <a href> part, you'd see value='[a]' instead of value='a' . You're removing everything from that except the a...
Taking out the nested <a href> in:
<sup class='footnote' value='[<a href="#fen-NIV-26127a" title="See footnote a">a</a>]'>
<sup class='footnote' value='[a]'>
Now, that's definitely all html.