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Arafat in Coma, 'Between Life and Death' Says Aide


Yasser Arafat is reported to be in a coma in a military hospital outside of Paris while officials discuss possible funeral arrangements, most importantly where the veteran Palestinian leader is to be laid to rest.

The Palestinian representative to France, Leila Shahid denied persistent reports that Mr. Arafat is brain dead or on life support. But, she did tell France's RTL radio that the Palestinian leader is in a coma between life and death.

Mr. Arafat was flown to France a week ago after he fell ill with stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. His illness has still not been diagnosed.

Now, the question is where to bury the 75-year-old leader if and when he dies. He has told associates he would like to be buried in Jerusalem, something Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ruled out.

Possible burial places being mentioned include the Gaza Strip, where the family has a burial plot.

Both Israeli and Palestinian security officials have held separate meetings to discuss a potentially volatile situation after Mr. Arafat's death.

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