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Egyptians Plan for Arafat Funeral Services in Cairo

While Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat perilously clings to life in a Paris hospital, Egyptian officials are preparing to hold funeral services in the event of his death.

Presidential spokesman Maged Abdel Fattah told Egyptian television that plans are being made to hold Mr. Arafat's memorial in Cairo.

Mr. Abdel Fattah said after the ceremony Mr. Arafat's body will be buried in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the Palestinian leader has his headquarters. Mr. Abdel Fattah said talks about the details of the planned funeral were underway, but that he could not reveal anything yet.

The 75-year-old Mr. Arafat was flown to a hospital in Paris last week, where he has reportedly been in and out of a coma. He suffered a brain hemorrhage on Tuesday.

With a funeral in Cairo, Mr. Arafat will be returning to the city he was born, on August 24, 1929. He grew up in Cairo and Jerusalem and attended University of Fuad I, later Cairo University, before abandoning his studies at 19 to dedicate himself to the Palestinian resistance.

Egypt has been a friend and supporter of Mr. Arafat's throughout most of his career, and has played a key role in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The Middle East News Agency reported that Mr. Arafat would receive "official and military" honors at the funeral in Cairo, and that the Israeli Foreign Ministry has agreed to the planned transfer of Mr. Arafat's body to Ramallah.