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THOUSANDS LINE ADEN STREETS TO WELCOME YEMEN’S PRESIDENT

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President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose northern forces crushed their southern rivals in Yemen's recent civil war, got a hero's welcome when he made his first public appearance in the south's former capital of Aden.

Thousands of people waving his portrait and chanting in support of his leadership lined the streets Wednesday as his motorcade stopped repeatedly for him to inspect various sites.He ordered his troops to tear down Al-Fateh prison, where southern forces held many of his supporters before the city fell and the war ended July 7.

War between the north and south broke out May 4 after months of escalating political conflict. Southern leader Ali Salem al-Beidh announced the south's intention to secede two weeks later, leaving the country's 1990 union in jeopardy.

Saleh told a gathering that 8,000 southerners who fled the country have responded to his general amnesty and returned.

Saleh has vowed to seek extradition of Beidh and aides from Arab countries, notably Oman and Saudi Arabia, for trial as war criminals.