GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) _ The eldest sister of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died Saturday, she was 82.

Inam Abdel Raouf Arafat Al Kidwah died at Al Amal Medical Center where she had undergone treatment for various illnesses for seven months. The exact cause of death was not immediately known.

She is the oldest of Arafat's five siblings. She was described in various Arafat biographies as the mother figure in the Palestinian leader's life after his mother died when Arafat was a young child.

On Arafat's request, his sister's funeral service was a private one, with only family, close friends and high ranking Palestinian officials attending, a Palestinian official speaking on condition of anonymity said.

A Palestinian official said Arafat was crying during the service and was very emotional at the burial site.

Al Kidwah was buried next to her father in Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip where she lived since she returned from Cairo in 1995.

President Clinton called Arafat on Saturday to express condolences, said White House spokesman Barry Toiv. Clinton placed the call from Air Force One as he traveled between cities in Florida, where he spent a day making political and fund-raising speeches.