Yasser Arafat 'May Have Been Poisoned with Polonium'

World | November 6, 2013, Wednesday // 20:12| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Yasser Arafat 'May Have Been Poisoned with Polonium' Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat greets his supporters 13 September 2003 in Ramallah, West Bank. Photo by BGNES

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.

Parallel investigations are being carried out by French, Russian and Palestinian experts - one Russian official said last month that no traces of polonium had been found.

Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive substance. It is found in low doses in food and created naturally in the body, but can be fatal if ingested in high doses.

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."

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Tags: yasser arafat, body, exhumed, poisoning, France, Palestinian, polonium
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