Special Reports

Was Arafat Poisoned With Polonium ?

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sildenafil geneva; font-size: small;”>Arafat died at a hospital in France in 2004, sickness after a sudden illness which baffled doctors. Many Palestinians have long suspected he was poisoned.

Darcy Christen, spokesman for the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, told Reuters it had found “surprisingly” high levels of polonium-210 in Arafat’s belongings.

But he stressed that clinical symptoms described in Arafat’s medical reports were not consistent with polonium-210 and that conclusions could not be drawn as to whether the Palestinian leader was poisoned or not.

Polonium was found to have caused the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, and he was assumed to have been deliberately poisoned.

Arafat’s widow Suha said she would ask for Arafat’s body — buried in the West Bank town of Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian self-rule authority — to be exhumed, according to Reuters.

Arafat, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who led the struggle for Palestinian statehood for nearly four decades, died on Nov. 11, 2004, following several weeks of treatment.

He had been airlifted to France from his besieged headquarters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

French officials, citing privacy laws, refused to reveal the precise cause of death or the nature of his condition, fuelling a host of rumors and theories as to the cause of his illness, according to AFP.

At the time of his death at the age of 75, Palestinian officials charged he had been poisoned by longtime foe Israel, but an inconclusive Palestinian investigation in 2005 ruled out cancer, AIDS or poisoning.

Arafat led the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s fight against Israel from the 1960s but signed a peace agreement with the Jewish state in 1993 establishing Palestinian self-rule areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

His mysterious death came four years into a Palestinian uprising, after years of talks with Israel failed to lead to a Palestinian state.

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