PA officially declares Arafat passed away

Nov. 11, 2004 at 12:52 AM
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GAZA, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Palestinian officials confirmed the death of Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat early Thursday morning.

Tayeb Abdel Rahim said Thursday that Arafat had "passed away at Percy Hospital in Paris."

Arafat died on November 11, 2004, at 3.30 Paris time (0230 GMT)

Forty days of mourning were declared in the Palestinian territories -- in Gaza and the West Bank.

Official institutions, governmental and non-governmental offices, shops and schools were closed in a sign of respect. In Gaza dozens of Palestinian militants fired their guns into the air. Many others just wept.

The long-time leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization died from an unknown illness after lying in a coma for 13 days.

Arafat's body will be flown to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, for a state funeral Friday before being taken to his final resting place in his former headquarters in the Moqataa, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

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