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Palestinian families woke up on Thursday morning to a news they wished they would never have to hear. Their leader and father figure of the Palestinian freedom struggle for four decades, Yasser Arafat, had passed away.

As mourners poured into the streets of Ramallah, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top Arafat aide, said the Palestinian leader would be buried on Saturday. The day, he said, would be a "national day of farewell".

Arafat died in Percy hospital on the outskirts of Paris, after a long spell of coma ending in brain haemorrhage.

Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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