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Arafat's Body Heads To Cairo For Funeral

11 November 2004 -- Authorities are flying the body of Yasser Arafat from the French military hospital where he died early today to Cairo for a funeral ceremony tomorrow.

The body was first taken by helicopter to a French air force base for a solomn military ceremony before being put aboard a plane for the flight to Cairo.

Following the funeral in Cairo, Arafat is expected to be buried in Ramallah, the West Bank city that served as headquarters for the 75-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Israel sealed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip immediately upon news of Arafat's death, fearing violent protests by Palestinian mourners. Israeli troops later used rubber-coated bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters who threw stones at Israeli cars and soldiers in Hebron and Bethlehem.

In Ramallah, parliament speaker Rauhi Fattouh was sworn in today as president of the Palestinian Authority for 60 days until elections.

"I swear to almighty God that I will be faithful to the homeland, its sacred principals, the people, and its national heritage. I will respect the constitution and the law. I promise to give the needs of the Palestinians my full attention and care, and God is witness to what I say," Fattouh said.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization's executive committee today unanimously elected Mahmud Abbas as its chief.