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Palestinian Authority responds to Mubarak leaks about Arafat

The Palestinian Embassy in Cairo has condemned the statements attributed to ousted president Hosni Mubarak in which he claimed that the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat had leaked the planned date for the 1973 war to Israel. "Any press leaks, whatever their sources, will not affect the status of the symbolic leader Yasser Arafat, the historic leader of the Arab nation and the commander of the Palestinian national struggle and the entire free world [sic]," said an embassy spokesman.


The Palestinian statement added that "the world is the witness" that Arafat lived for his country, his people and the Arab nation, and that when he was besieged he resisted to restore the dignity of the Arab nation and to end the Israeli occupation. "President Arafat was martyred at the hands of the Zionists' treachery in defence of the central issue of the Arab nation and in order to protect the Islamic and Christian sanctities in Palestine," it claimed.

In a statement published by the official Egyptian government newspaper, Al-Ahram, the Fatah movement expressed its surprise at Mubarak's alleged remarks. "They contradict the history and the facts," insisted a spokesman, "and are an attempt to drag Arafat's name in the mud." The secular faction pointed out that Arafat was not in Egypt at that time and did not meet with former President Anwar Sadat.

Transcriptions of a series of audio tapes purporting to be recordings of Mubarak's discussions have sparked a legal and political controversy in Egypt since they started to be serialised in Al-Youm newspaper.

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