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Exit of wounded Yemeni leader sets off celebration

• AP

The departure of Yemen's battle-wounded president for treatment in Saudi Arabia set off wild street celebrations Sunday in the capital, where crowds danced, sang and slaughtered cows in hopes that this spelled a victorious end to a more than three-month campaign to push their leader from power.

Behind the festive atmosphere, many feared Ali Abdullah Saleh, a masterful political survivor who has held power for nearly 33 years, will yet return -- or leave the country in ruins. Hanging in the balance was a country that even before the latest tumult was beset by deep poverty, malnutrition, tribal conflict and violence by an active al-Qaida franchise with international reach. 


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