Yasser Arafat's body arrived late Thursday to Cairo for his funeral following his death earier in the day in a Paris hospital at the age of 75.
Egyptian authorities mounted a maximum security operation around Cairo airport. A military honor guard carried Arafat's coffin.
Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, hugged Arafat's widow, Suha, after she alighted. Egypt's foreign minister was also there, The AAP reported.
Arafat's coffin was to be taken to the nearby Galaa Club, a compound that includes a hospital, mosque and social club for military officers. It was to be held overnight in the hospital and was to go to a mosque at the club on Friday morning for the funeral.
The body of the Palestinian president was taken Thursday afternnon by a French military helicopter from the hospital before being flown to Cairo for his funeral Friday.
Earlier, French President Jacques Chirac visited the Percy military hospital in the southwestern suburb of the French capital to pay his last respect to Arafat. Chirac stayed for 25 minutes in front of Arafat's body and conveyed his condolences to Arafat's wife Suha and the Palestinian representative in Paris, Leila Shahid.
Following the military funeral ceremony in Cairo, Arafat's body will be flown to his Ramallah HQ for burial on the same day or Saturday. (Albawaba.com)