Abbas helps unveil Arafat mausoleum

Nov. 10, 2007 at 2:29 PM
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RAMALLAH, West Bank, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in the West Bank Saturday, helping commemorate a mausoleum dedicated to his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.

During the memorial service to the late Palestinian leader in the city of Ramallah, Abbas placed a ceremonial wreath inside the mausoleum to honor Arafat's memory, the BBC reported.

"We will continue on the path to set up the independent Palestinian state with (Jerusalem) as its capital, God willing," Abbas said.

The $2 million memorial tomb was built at the site where Arafat lived for two years before dying Nov. 11, 2004.

Saturday's commemoration of the tomb represented only the first of many scheduled ceremonies aimed at remembering Arafat and his impact on the region.

Abbas also said he hoped Arafat's final resting place would be in Jerusalem. That goal was punctuated in earlier comments from project supervisor Mohammed Ashtiyah.

"The monument is built on a natural spring, and the water signifies that it is temporary, for it will be moved to Jerusalem after liberation," Ashtiyah said of the West Bank site.

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