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In note, Palestinian bomber issues suicide call from grave
GAZA CITY (Reuters) -- A Palestinian suicide cyclist received a martyr's burial on Friday, exhorting mourners in a note read at his funeral to follow his lead until Jerusalem is liberated from Israeli rule.
"Thank God I am headed where I have always wanted to go," Nabil al-Arair said in the suicide note at his funeral a day after he blew himself up near an Israeli army post in Gaza, lightly wounding a soldier.
"I urge you to continue the Intifada (uprising) until the liberation of Jerusalem. I urge you to continue to keep up the jihad (holy struggle) and resistance," the note said.
More than 10,000 Palestinians marched through Gaza City to Arair's funeral.
They waved black banners of his militant Islamic Jihad movement and yellow flags of Iranian-backed Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas.
"Barak, prepare the coffins!" the mourners chanted for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
Arair, a nursery school secretary, was the first suicide bomber in a month of Israeli-Palestinian fighting which has killed at least 133 people, all but eight of them Arabs. Islamic Jihad has promised more suicide strikes.
Palestinian police fired rifles in the air in a final salute to Arair.
Official Palestinian television for the first time covered the funeral of a suicide bomber from a militant group opposed to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's interim peace accords with Israel.
"Death to Israel! Death to America!" chanted mourners as Palestinians in civilian clothes fired automatic weapons above their heads.
Arair said his death was dedicated to Mohammed al-Durra, a 12-year-old shot dead in his father's lap as they cowered during a Gaza gunbattle. The boy has become a symbol of what Palestinians call the "al-Aqsa Intifada."
Palestinians say the wave of unrest was triggered by a visit by Israeli hawk Ariel Sharon to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, one of Islam's holiest shrines. The complex lies atop the Temple Mount, holy to Jews as the site of ancient Jewish temples.
Friday prayers at al-Aqsa proceeded quietly as Israeli police beefed up security throughout Arab East Jerusalem.
Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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