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posted: 10/6/2017 7:00 AM

Iraqi Kurdistan receives body of late President Talabani

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BAGHDAD -- Iraqi leaders and world dignitaries are gathered at Iraqi Kurdistan's Suleimaniyeh airport to pay their respects to the late Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who died three days ago in Germany.

His casket, draped in the Kurdish flag, was offloaded from a plane Friday to waiting dignitaries at the airport.

Iraqi Kurdistan President Mahmoud Barzani, Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif and representatives from the U.S., U.N., EU and other states and organizations are laying wreaths at Talabani's casket.

Thousands of mourners are waiting for his body to arrive in Suleimaniyeh for a funereal procession.

Talabani, a Kurdish leader who once battled Iraq's central government, accepted the largely symbolic post of Iraq's presidency in 2005. He was hailed in death as a unifying figure in national politics.

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