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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 23 October, 2014

Arafat’s death was natural and not caused by radiation says Russian expert

While a Swiss lab report said that Arafat was probably poisoned by polonium, this is the second study to rule it out.

Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Image: MUHAMMED MUHEISEN/AP/Press Association Images

THE CHIEF OF Russia’s medical and biological agency says its probe into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has found no indication of radioactive poisoning.

Russia’s state news agencies quote Vladimir Uiba, the head of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency, saying that its research has found that Arafat’s death nine years ago was “natural and not caused by radiation”.

Scientists

Teams of scientists from France, Switzerland and Russia were asked to determine whether polonium, a rare and extremely lethal substance, played a role in Arafat’s death in a French military hospital in 2004.

French doctors were unable to say what killed him and an autopsy was never performed, at the request of his widow.

Palestinians have long suspected Israel of poisoning him, which Israel denies.

A Swiss lab report said that Arafat was probably poisoned by polonium, but a French study has ruled it out.

However, the Palestinian authorities said they will press on with their probe into his death, despite the recent finding.

“I can only say that there is already a decision to continue the investigation,” Faed Mustafa, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia told the state RIA Novosti news agency.

“We respect their position, we highly value their work but there is a decision to continue work.”

Additional reporting © AFP 2013

Read: French experts rule out Arafat poisoning>

Read: Palestinians say there’s only one suspect in Arafat death>

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