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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 21 October, 2014

Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned by radioactive polonium

Tests revealed at least 18 times the normal levels of radioactive polonium in his remains according to new station Al-Jazeera.

Graffiti depicting late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City.
Graffiti depicting late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City.
Image: Bernat Armangue/AP

YASSER ARAFAT WAS poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium according to Swiss scientists who have carried out tests on his body.

The claim was made by news station Al- Jazeera America who say that the result “moderately supports” polonium as the former Palestinian leader’s cause of death.

The station have published the results of the tests which found at least 18 times the normal levels of radioactive polonium in his remains.

Arafat died in hospital in France in November 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow’s request.

Some 60 samples were taken from the remains of the late Palestinian leader in November last year for a probe into whether he was poisoned by polonium. The samples were divided between the Swiss and Russian investigators and a French team carrying out a probe at the request of Arafat’s widow Suha.

image

(1995 photo showing President Bill Clinton gesturing toward Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, left, and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, right. Pic: AP Photo/Doug Mills)

Tests on these samples were concluded this week by Swiss and Russian forensic investigators with their reports now delivered to Palestinian authorities.

Official Palestinian news agency WAFA said that a Russian team appointed by the Palestinian Authority also handed in its report on  2 November and that its conclusions would be made public in due course.

Arafat’s remains were exhumed from his tomb in the West Bank city of Ramallah in November 2012 and samples taken, partly to investigate whether he had been poisoned — a suspicion that grew after the assassination of Russian ex-spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

Additional reporting by © – AFP

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