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Arafat is dead

by: Lisa Bryant - Last updated: 2004-11-11

Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat is dead. His death was announced early Thursday morning in France, where the Palestinian leader has been ailing for days. 

Yasser Arafat's death was announced both by Palestinian officials and the Percy Medical Hospital outside Paris, where the Mr. Arafat arrived for treatment of a mysterious illness nearly two weeks ago. The hospital said the 75-year-old Palestinian leader died in the early-morning hours.

Mr Arafat had been hovering between life and death for days. His condition launched a flurry of contradictory news reports that he was dead, or brain dead, long before his demise was announced. It also unleashed a clash between his wife Suha and Palestinian officials.

His body will be flown to Cairo for a memorial ceremony and, after that, to the West Bank city, Ramallah, for burial. The arrangements were finalized after Israeli authorities gave the green light for his Ramallah burial.

Mr Arafat was a controversial character - a hero and statesman to some and a terrorist to others. His passing raises questions about who might be his long-term successor and about the future of the Middle East peace process.

Story supplied by: VOAnews