Burial preparations in Ramallah underway

Yasser Arafat, who suffered a brain haemorrhage at a Paris hospital, was in a deep coma, when a top Muslim cleric has rushed to his bedside. The cleric insisted the Palestinian leader was still alive though the preparations for his burial in &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2002/05/02/28167.html ' target=_blank>Ramallah were underway.

Officials maintained in public that he was alive, though several aides said privately that he was dead.

Palestinian sources said on Wednesday that Arafat's death could be announced within days and arrangements were being hastily made for a funeral in Cairo and burial at his &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2001/12/26/24524.html ' target=_blank>West Bank headquarters.

Earth-moving equipment set to work digging up the grounds of Arafat's shell-shattered compound in Ramallah, which was to be turned into a shrine to the icon of Palestinian nationalism, Reuters informs.

According to the Xinhua News, a senior Palestinian delegation is due to head to Egypt in the coming few hours to make final arrangements for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's funeral,official sources said on Wednesday.

The sources said that Mahmoud Abbas, general secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization (&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/world/2001/09/07/14459.html ' target=_blank>PLO) Executive Committee, met with the delegation in the West Bank city of Ramallah before its departure.

The delegation groups Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath and members of the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee as well as security officials from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Earlier in the day, the Palestinian leadership accepted an Egyptian offer to hold funeral for Arafat in Cairo before his body was transferred to Ramallah for burial.

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