Former President Ahmed Ben Bella returned home today after a decade in exile and urged tens of thousands of cheering supporters to volunteer to fight in support of Iraq.
Ben Bella, 73, who led the Algerian war for independence against France, also called on Algeria's government to resign.
"Iraq needs support," he said in a fiery, hourlong speech after going ashore. " . . . Go by the hundreds of thousands to the Iraqi Embassy and don't leave until they sign you up as volunteers."
Ben Bella said he hoped to forge a new political coalition that would defeat the long-ruling National Liberation Front, to which he once belonged. He became Algeria's first president in 1962 after the eight-year war against France, but he was overthrown in a military coup in 1965 and imprisoned until shortly before he went into exile.