a fitting farewell to yasser arafat

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    Arafat laid to rest in Ramallah
    By Mark Willacy in Ramallah

    Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has been laid to rest in the West Bank city of Ramallah amid scenes of pandemonium.

    More than 100,000 people packed into Mr Arafat's compound to witness his burial.

    Mr Arafat's coffin was carried to his Ramallah headquarters on board an Egyptian helicopter, which arrived to the roar of tens of thousands of mourners.

    Despite the presence of hundreds of security forces, the crowd surged forward to try to touch the Palestinian leader's coffin.

    Troops fired into the air to try to clear a path for the casket to be taken to Mr Arafat's burial plot.

    After inching their way through the crush of mourners, soldiers took the body to the small plot.

    Soil from Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque was then sprinkled into the grave.

    Palestinian officials say Mr Arafat's body will remain in Ramallah until it can be buried in Jerusalem some time in the future.

    Israel says it will not allow the Palestinian leader to be laid to rest in the holy city.

    Shortly after Mr Arafat was buried, Palestinian leaders including newly appointed Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) chairman Abu Mazen and Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie joined the crowd in prayer.

    Mr Arafat died in a French hospital three days ago at the age of 75 after suffering organ failure, although the exact cause of his death has not been revealed.

    In other developments:
    Foreign dignitaries have paid a last tribute to Yasser Arafat, the founding father of Palestinian resistance, at a solemn funeral in Cairo, the city where he was born. (Full Story)

    United States President George W Bush has vowed to use the next four years to help establish a Palestinian state, and he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair said they would help craft a post-Arafat strategy for making it happen. (Full Story)
 
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