People behind Arafat Death to Be Named Soon: Investigator

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A Palestinian investigator said on Tuesday he would soon name the people he believed were responsible for the death of former leader Yasser Arafat, almost a decade after he started searching for suspects.

People behind Arafat Death to Be Named Soon: Investigator

Arafat, a guerrilla leader who became the first Palestinian president, died in 2004 from a sudden illness contracted while under an Israeli siege at his Ramallah headquarters in the occupied West Bank.

Many Palestinians have long believed Israel killed him - a charge Israel flatly denies - but an official Palestinian Authority investigation headed by Tawfiq Tirawi has yet to produce any evidence.

Arafat's widow has also said that a member of Arafat's own inner circle was responsible, stoking tensions among senior officials.

"I promise that the next press conference will be the last, and will cast into the light of day everyone who perpetrated, took part in or conspired in the matter," Tirawi told Palestine Today television.

"We are in the last 15 minutes of the investigation," he added.

This comes as a team of French scientists probing Arafat’s death says it is most likely that he died of natural causes.

They have reportedly concluded he died after a "generalized infection".

Arafat's official medical records say he died in 2004 from a stroke resulting from a blood disorder. French doctors were not able at the time to determine what had caused the disorder.

His body was exhumed for testing last year amid continuing claims he was murdered.

A Swiss forensic lab said in November that Arafat's bones contained unnaturally high amounts of rare and deadly radioactive isotope, polonium which it said "moderately supported" a contention he was poisoned. But the Swiss scientists stressed that they had been unable to reach a more definitive conclusion because of the time that had lapsed since Arafat's death, the limited samples available and the confused "chain of custody" of some of the specimens.

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