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Published On: Wed, Jul 4th, 2012

Palestinians may exhume Yasser Arafat’s body to test for radiation poisoning

The Palestinian president cleared the way Wednesday for a possible autopsy on Yasser Arafat’s remains, following a request from his widow after a Swiss lab said it found elevated levels of a lethal radioactive isotope on the longtime Palestinian leader’s belongings.

 

Photo/Tibor Végh

An investigation by Al Jazeera finds that “tests reveal that Arafat’s final personal belongings – his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic kaffiyeh – contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element. Those personal effects, which were analyzed at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne,Switzerland, were variously stained with Arafat’s blood, sweat, saliva and urine. The tests carried out on those samples suggested that there was a high level of polonium inside his body when he died.”

Arafat’s widow, who ordered the tests by a Swiss lab, called for her husband’s body to be exhumed, and Arafat’s successor gave tentative approval for an autopsy. But experts warned that even after the detection of polonium-210, getting answers on the cause of death will be tough.

Arafat was 75 when he died Nov. 11, 2004, in a French military hospital. He had been airlifted to the facility just weeks earlier with a mysterious illness, after being confined by Israel for three years to his West Bank headquarters.

At the time, French doctors said Arafat died of a massive brain hemorrhage. According to French medical records, he had suffered inflammation, jaundice and a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC.

Polonium-210 is best known for causing the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a one-time KGB agent turned critic of the Russian government, in London in 2006. Litvinenko drank tea laced with the substance.

 

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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