Swiss to dig up Arafat remains in West Bank

Swiss scientists who found abnormal levels of polonium on Yasser Arafat's personal effects plan to visit the West Bank city of Ramallah this month for the exhumation of the late Palestinian leader's remains.

Swiss to dig up Arafat remains in West Bank
Arafat in Switzerland in 2001 (Photo: World Economic Forum)

"The objective is to find out whether or not his body has been exposed to polonium 210," Francois Bochud, director of the Institute for Radiation Physics at Switzerland's University of Lausanne, said in an interview appearing on Sunday in Le Matin Dimanche.

The veteran leader died at the age of 75 in a French military hospital near Paris on November 11th 2004.

French experts were unable to say what had killed him, but many Palestinians convinced he was poisoned by Israel.

French prosecutors launched a probe after Al-Jazeera television broadcast an investigation in which the Swiss experts said they had found high levels of polonium, a highly toxic radioactive substance, on Arafat's personal effects.

Bochud and Patrice Mangin, a forensic pathologist and toxicologist, will join the operation to examine Arafat's remains that is expected to begin on November 26th.

"Frankly, I don't know what we are going to find," Bochud said.

Polonium, which is rarely found outside military and scientific circles, was used to kill former Russian spy turned Kremlin critic Alexander
Litvinenko, who died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with the poison at a London hotel.

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Arafat’s widow ‘shattered’ over French findings

Yasser Arafat's widow said on Tuesday that she was "shattered" by contradictory findings by French and Swiss experts over the cause of the former Palestinian leader's death.

Arafat's widow 'shattered' over French findings
Photo: World Economic Forum

"I am so shattered by these contradictions," said Suha Arafat after French experts ruled out a theory her husband had been poisoned.

"What are we supposed to think?"

She added that she did not blame anyone for his death.

Earlier this year, scientists in Lausanne said they could not rule out that Arafat was poisoned after finding elevated levels of radioactive substance polonium-210 on his remains.

However, they cautioned they could not prove the cause of his death.

The French investigation concluded that tests showed an "absence of poisoning" because of a lack of evidence "proving polonium-210 poisoning."