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Arafat's final journey

Agencies | November 11, 2004 22:48 IST
Last Updated: November 12, 2004 03:12 IST

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's body has been brought to Cairo, his birthplace, where the funeral will be held in the presence of world leaders on Friday.

The body arrived from Paris where, in a sombre ceremony, French leaders bid farewell to the 75-year-old leader, who died in a Paris hospital early Thursday.

The ceremony was held in a military airport, where his coffin arrived draped in the Palestinian flag, to be flown to Cairo.

The body will be buried in Ramallah.

Arafat's wife Suha and members of the French government -- including Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin -- attended the ceremony at Villacoublay airport.

A military band played a funeral march as Arafat's coffin was carried to a plane bearing the livery of the French republic.

No members of the public were present at the airport.

Earlier, President Jacques Chirac went to Percy hospital on the outskirts of Paris, where Arafat died of a lengthy and unknown disease.

Arafat's supporters waved candles and flags outside the hospital as the body began its journey home.

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