Arafat May Be Exhumed on Heels of Poisoning Report

Palestinian leaders approve widow's request
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2012 9:14 AM CDT
Arafat May Be Exhumed on Heels of Poisoning Report
In this Dec. 24, 2002 file photo, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat talks to the media during a press conference at his headquarters, in the West Bank town of Ramallah.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)

Following reports that point to possible polonium poisoning, the Palestinian Authority is prepared to exhume Yasser Arafat's body for an autopsy. Arafat's widow, Suha, sought the exhumation after samples of his clothing, which she provided to al-Jazeera, revealed significant traces of the same poison that killed Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko . "I want the world to know the truth about the assassination of Yasser Arafat," Suha said, citing Israeli and US conflicts with the leader.

"The Authority, as it always has been, is ready to completely cooperate with and clear the way for an investigation into the true causes leading to the martyrdom of the late president," said a spokesman for Arafat successor Mahmoud Abbas. Reuters notes, however, that per his medical file, Arafat's symptoms didn't match signs of a polonium poisoning. Israel maintains that it played no role in his death. "The body is in their hands," says Israel's former intelligence head. "It is in [a mausoleum in] Ramallah, and really, all the keys are in their hands." (Read more Yasser Arafat stories.)

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