Palestinians and the world want to know the truth

The rumors and conflicting reports about the fate of Palestinian leader &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Yasser Arafat, who is still at a Paris hospital, continue to confuse Palestinians and the world, awaiting to find out the truth.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, in a strenuous denial, said Arafat, 75, was "very much alive", but several political sources said he had succumbed to the mystery illness that led to his being flown to Paris on October 29.

A senior aide said Arafat, who lapsed into a coma last week, had suffered a brain haemorrhage. Palestinian sources said leaders were waiting for a senior Muslim cleric to arrive on Wednesday to give the go-ahead for disconnecting life-support machines, as Indian Express reported.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Hundreds of Palestinians marched through the streets of several &to=http:// ' target=_blank>West Bank cities and towns Tuesday night to demonstrate their support of Yasser Arafat.

In Ramallah, demonstrators called on the city's shop owners to close down their businesses in light of Arafat's expected demise. When Arafat dies, a 40-day period of mourning is expected to be announced in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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