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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 23 November, 2014

Was Yasser Arafat poisoned by polonium?

Al Jazeera reports that tests have found abnormal levels of polonium in the late Palestinian leader’s clothing.

Image: AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen/PA

THE WIDOW OF THE late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat reportedly wants his body to be exhumed amid suggestions he may have been poisoned by polonium.

Arafat, 75, was treated at a military hospital in Paris after falling ill at his West Bank compound in October 2004 and died just weeks later. The exact cause of Arafat’s death in 2004 has never been established.

Al Jazeera reports that a nine-month investigation has found that tests show that Arafat’s personal effects, such as his toothbrush and clothing, contained abnormal levels of the highly poisonous radioactive element polonium.

The tests carried out by the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland have prompted Arafat’s widow to request the exhumation of his remains from Ramallah to test them for polonium.

The radioactive element was famously used to poison the former KGB and FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. The dissident was living in the UK under asylum after accusing the Russian secret service of staging terrorist acts in Russia. Polonium is very hard to access and highly difficult to detect in the body.

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