Yasser Arafat's coffin was carried into a mosque Friday morning, after prayers were offered for the Palestinian leader in front of presidents, kings and envoys from over 60 countries.
"He has served his people all his life, until he faced his God, with courage and honesty. Let us pray for his soul," Egypt's Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mohammed Sayed Tantawi told the gathered dignitaries.
After a traditional funeral prayer lasting only a couple of minutes, eight dark-suited pallbearers carried the casket out of the mosque and handed it to an Egyptian honor guard.
Arafat's body was then carried away by a horse-drawn carriage, accompanied by an Egyptian honor gurad.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived at the nearby condolences tent and received visitors. Palestinian leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas, who has taken over leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and newly chosen Fatah leader Farouk Kaddoumi welcomed dignitaries from around the world in the tent.
Among the dignitaries were Syrian president Bashar al Assad, Tunisian president Ben Ali, the Jordanian king, the Algerian president, the Yemeni president Ali Saleh, Sultan Hasanal Bolkiah of Brunei, South African President Thabo Mbeki, European Union Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana and Pope Shenouda III, head of Egypt's Coptic Othodox Church. The United States sent an assistant secretary of state.
Arafat's body will later be flown by helicopter to the West Bank and placed in a tomb at his headquarters in Ramallah, where he will be buried. (albawaba.com)