Recent Report Supports Theory Arafat Was Poisoned with Polonium

News ID: 186347 Service: Other Media
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TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A Swiss forensic report published on Wednesday revealed that tests on Arafat’s exhumed remains and possessions support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-¬210, a highly radioactive substance.

Yasser Arafat's official medical records say he died in 2004 from a stroke resulting from a blood disorder.

But the body of the Palestine Liberation Organization leader was exhumed last year amid continuing claims he was murdered.

The Swiss report said tests on the body showed "unexpected high activity" of polonium, which "moderately" supported the poisoning theory, the Washington Post reported.

On Wednesday, a final 108-page report by a team of Swiss experts revealed that tests on Arafat’s exhumed remains and possessions moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-¬210, a highly radioactive substance 250,000 times as toxic as cyanide.

The Swiss scientists' report, posted in full on Al Jazeera's website, was more cautious. It concluded: "Taking into account the analytical limitations aforementioned, mostly time lapse since death and the nature and quality of the specimens, the results moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210."

Al Jazeera said the levels of polonium found in Arafat's ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his remains were at least 18 times higher than normal.

“This has confirmed all our doubts,” Arafat’s widow, Suha, told the Reuters news agency. “It is scientifically proved that he didn’t die a natural death, and we have scientific proof that this man was killed.”

Suha Arafat, speaking in Paris, called her husband’s death “a real crime, a political assassination.”

She did not name any suspects, but if her husband truly was killed, there would be many. He had myriad enemies -- not least the Israelis.

Arafat spent his life battling the Israelis, first as a militia fighter and later as a statesman. For decades, he served as leader of the Fatah movement and the face of the PLO, always in his olive green uniform, patchy grey beard and checkered scarf.

His critics called him a terrorist and a crook, and they accused him of amassing a personal fortune and ultimately failing the Palestinian cause. His supporters revere him as a kind of founding father, and his portrait hangs on the wall of every Palestinian Authority functionary in the West Bank.

Before his death in 2004 -- more than a decade after he signed the Oslo Accords, which offered a still-unfulfilled promise of peace -- Arafat was confined to his Ramallah compound by the Israeli military. 

Israeli officials have repeatedly denied that their government had anything to do with Arafat’s death.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that the Swiss findings were “more soap opera than science,” calling them part of the ongoing battle between Arafat’s widow and the Palestinian Authority.

 

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