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Yasser Arafat Dies and Will Be Buried with Full Military Honors

Yasser Arafat Dies and Will Be Buried with Full Military Honors

Posted November. 11, 2004 23:09,   


Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat died at 3:30 a.m. local time on November 11 at the Percy de Clarmat military hospital in France, the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced. He was 75.

Arafat had represented the Palestinian people for the past 35 years since becoming the PLO chairman in 1969. Since he died without appointing his successor, the Middle East has been thrown into a great confusion, which represents both a challenge and an opportunity.

“His heartbeat stopped, and his eyes closed,” said Arafat’s chief of staff Tayeb Abdel Rahim. “Although he passed away, he will always be with the Palestinian people.”

His funeral will be held at the Cairo International Airport in Egypt on November 12, and he will be buried with military honors outside his headquarters compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah on the next day.

The PA announced that Rawhi Fattuh, the speaker of the Palestinian parliament, will serve as the Palestinian Authority’s interim president, and an election will be held within 60 days. The PA said that everything will go smoothly, while the foreign press reported that keen competition has already taken place over Arafat’s permanent replacement.

Upon hearing the news of Arafat’s death, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian people took to the streets in the Gaza Strip, mourning for his death. Mosques read out the Koran through a speaker. The Israeli government blockaded the West Bank and Gaza Strip while reinforcing its armed forces in the regions in case of a possible insurgency and militia attacks.

“Arafat’s death is a significant moment in the Palestinian history,” said U.S. President George W. Bush in his statement. “We hope that the future will bring the fulfillment of Palestinians’ aspirations for an independent, democratic Palestine.”

Dong-Keun Keum Jin Lee gold@donga.com leej@donga.com