Friday, November 12

Arafat funeral: Ramallah roils as Jerusalem rests

Tens of thousands of grief-stricken Palestinians swarmed around the two Egyptian air force helicopters returning the remains of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat to his Ramallah "Muka'ta," headquarters Friday afternoon.

Masked gunmen fired in the air, as the massed sea of mourners dragged the coffin out of the helicopter bay, the doors barely openable from the crush.

Rescue and security forces were overwhelmed by the tremendous disarray at the event, with a number of Palestinians reportedly wounded in the melee, possibly from gunshots fired by the masked militias.

Sweating, screaming "we will avenge your memory, oh, Arafat," and, "Jerusalem," the human mass "paraded," the coffin over their heads to the hastily-erected, and reportedly mobile mausoleum on the rubble-strewn compound.

Arafat's coffin was quickly interred in the stone structure, as Palestinians vowed that the gravesite was a temporary arrangement, until Arafat's remains were transferred to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, five kilometers to the south, in a hoped-for future deal with Israel.

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