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Published On: Wed, Nov 6th, 2013

REVEALED: Yasser Arafat ‘May have been Poisoned with Polonium’

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Former Palestinian leader, late Yasser Arafat


LAGOS NOVEMVER 6TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned with radioactive polonium, says a Swiss forensic report obtained by al-Jazeera.
Arafat’s medical records say he died in 2004 from a stroke resulting from a blood disorder.
But his body was exhumed last year amid continuing claims he had been poisoned.
The Swiss report said “unexpectedly high levels” of radioactive polonium had been found, which “moderately” supported the poisoning theory.

But they stressed that there were several critical problems with their investigation, including that it had been based on limited samples, that eight years had passed between his death and testing and that the “chain of custody” of some of the specimens was unclear.
Speaking in Paris, Arafat’s widow, Suha, said the results revealed “a real crime, a political assassination”.
“This has confirmed all our doubts. It is scientifically proved that he didn’t die a natural death and we have scientific proof that this man was killed.”
Reuters said she did not name any suspects and acknowledged that her husband had had many enemies in his lifetime.
Murder enquiry
Arafat, who led the Palestine Liberation Organisation for 35 years and became the first president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996, fell violently ill in October 2004 at his compound.
Two weeks later he was flown to a French military hospital in Paris, where he died on 11 November 2004, aged 75.
Reasons for the investigation
• “Unexplained, elevated” level of polonium-210 on Arafat’s clothing, keffiyeh and toothbrush
• Highest levels found on items with bodily fluids
• Toothbrush measured 54 millibecquerels (mBq); underwear 180mBq compared with 6.7mBq from another man’s specimen underwear
• More than 60% of polonium was not from natural sources
France began a murder inquiry in August 2012 after Swiss experts working with a documentary crew found radioactive polonium-210 on Arafat’s personal effects.
His widow had objected to a post-mortem at the time of his death, but asked the Palestinian Authority to permit the exhumation “to reveal the truth”.
His remains were removed from his tomb in Ramallah in November and reinterred the same day after samples were removed for testing.
Many Palestinians believe that Israel poisoned him. Israel has denied any involvement. Others allege that he had Aids.
Source: BBC

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