A crowd of tens of thousands stormed the Mukata compound of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. When the chopper bearing Arafat's body landed, the crowds
rushed the helicopter and surrounded it utterly. Massive gunfire began as the choppers entered view and continued long after the coffin was buried.
Skirmishes broke out and a large SUV type vehicle drove wildly through the crowd in an attempt to clear people away from the choppers; quite a few
gatherers appeared to be struck by the vehicle. The coffin was removed from the chopper and placed on top of the vehicle that was previously trying
to clear a path. The vehicle drove very slowly through the crowd as people attempted to touch and climb on the coffin. The final few yards to the
gravesite found bearers carrying the casket on their shoulders. Progress was slow and uncertain, but they inched closer to the crypt and managed to
safely place the casket next to the grave. The crowds chanted, "Whoever poisoned Arafat, we will drink his blood."
As of approximately 8:20am EST, Yasser Arafat was interred at the gravesite in his Ramallah compound. Some of the crowd began to clear afterwards.
Arafat's body arrived via helicopter from Cairo. Unarmed Palestinian forces tried to maintain order, but the sheer number of people appeared to be
making this almost impossible. There were fears that the crowd may attempt to take the coffin and physically carry it to Jerusalem, only a short
distance away, where he wanted to be buried.
Gunfire was heard amongst the crowd and isolated groups were engaging in what appeared to be small physical skirmishes. A group of men, bearing
swords and M16s, dressed in black and with their heads covered, made their way through the crowd towards the compound. They are believed to be the Al
Aqsa Martyrs Brigade - the militant wing of the Fatah movement. Hamas officials also entered the crowd and appeared to be riling the crowd up even
For most of the day, forces have prevented anyone but authorized personnel from entering. At approximately 5:30am EST (1:30pm local time), some
members of the crowd suddenly broke through the guards, scaled a fence, and made their way inside. Hundreds upon hundreds followed suit.
Throngs of people climbed the outer walls of the compound and milled about inside. Many people climbed onto roofs and walls as more and more pushed
inside. Palestinian forces formed human chains in an attempt to hold off the mass of people, however it seemed to be having little to no effect.
"Several" people have been taken out of the compound via stretcher to waiting ambulances. It has not been said what their injuries are, but between
the crush of the crowd and the amount of gunfire, one could speculate either of these were the cause.
Thousands of Palestinian mourners burst into Yasser Arafat's walled compound Friday to try to get close to his burial site, raising questions about
whether the helicopter bearing his body could land inside.
For several hours, hundreds of Palestinian police had tried to keep the growing crowd back, but at one point, mourners managed to break through gates
and climb over walls. Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
A car bomb went off near Ramallah as the helicopters were en route to the compound, killing at least two people.
A car exploded near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday, killing two people, an Israeli emergency service said.
No other details were immediately available about the blast, which occurred as a helicopter carrying the body of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat
headed for a landing at his Ramallah compound where he was to be buried. Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
[edit on 13-11-2004 by Banshee]