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Rabin's widow leads mourners

'Shocked' Arafat won't attend funeral

November 5, 1995
Web posted at: 1:15 p.m. EST (1815 GMT)

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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Tens of thousands of Israelis, some crying or praying, formed a line three kilometers (two miles) long Sunday to file past the coffin of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. His widow, Leah, came with family members, some of them overcome with emotion. (865K QuickTime movie) Rabin's body will lie in state outside the Israeli Knesset, or parliament, until a Monday funeral to be attended by world leaders, including U.S. President Clinton. (Live CNN coverage of Rabin's funeral begins Monday at 5 a.m. EST, 1000 GMT).

But Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, who shared a Nobel Peace prize with Rabin and expressed shock at "this awful, terrible crime," will not attend the funeral for security reasons. "Arafat's attendance at the funeral needs very complicated preparations," the PLO leader's spokesman said.

suspect Rabin, 73, was shot and killed by a Jewish law student after a peace rally in King's Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday. Police said Yigal Amir, 25, had links to Jewish extremists opposed to Rabin's efforts to make peace with Israel's Arab neighbors. According to police, Amir confessed to the crime, saying he acted on God's orders and did not regret killing Rabin. When told by interrogators that Rabin had died, he said, "I'm satisfied," according to Israel radio.

Three shots were fired as Rabin walked from a stage to his car. The prime minister was hit twice and a body guard was wounded in the shoulder by the third bullet, security sources said. The killer reportedly used a .22 caliber handgun.

casket Six Israeli army generals rode in the military command car carrying Rabin's coffin to Jerusalem Sunday. The army's chief rabbi chanted (275K AIFF sound or 275K WAV sound) kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer (290K AIFF sound or 290K WAV sound) for the dead.

Rabin, who fought in Israel's 1948 war for independence, will be buried with full military honors Monday at the Mount Herzl national cemetery in Jewish west Jerusalem, where the remains of Zionist founder Theodor Herzl and former prime ministers Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir were laid to rest. The site is a panoramic ground on the edge of the Jerusalem Forest of pine and cypress trees.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres was named acting prime minister. Police said Amir revealed that he also would have shot Peres if Rabin and Peres had left the rally together. Amir had planned twice before to kill Rabin, police said.

Anti-Rabin sentiment among settlers and others opposed to giving up Israeli-occupied land intensified after the prime minister agreed to transfer authority to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Implementation of the autonomy process began in May 1994 and was nearing completion.

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