Arafat’s Death Likely Not Due to Polonium: French Analysts

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Dec. 3, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

A new re­port by French forensic in­vest­ig­at­ors plays down the pos­sib­il­ity that former Palestini­an lead­er Yass­er Ara­fat was as­sas­sin­ated through ex­pos­ure to ra­dio­act­ive po­loni­um, des­pite earli­er sus­pi­cions, the BBC re­por­ted on Tues­day.

The new as­sess­ment as­serts that a “gen­er­al­ized in­fec­tion” was prob­ably re­spons­ible for Ara­fat’s 2004 de­mise. The Palestini­an Lib­er­a­tion Front lead­er died in a French mil­it­ary hos­pit­al after ex­per­i­en­cing a severe stroke, which phys­i­cians at­trib­uted at the time to a blood ail­ment of un­cer­tain ori­gin.

Ara­fat’s re­mains were un­earthed last year so tis­sue samples could be re­moved and trans­ferred for labor­at­ory test­ing in Europe. The latest de­term­in­a­tion out of France came less than a month after a Swiss ex­perts re­por­ted a “mod­er­ate” pos­sib­il­ity that Ara­fat was de­lib­er­ately poisoned with po­loni­um. The lat­ter find­ings cited in­dic­a­tions that the lead­er’s body con­tained a sig­ni­fic­ant quant­ity of the sub­stance at the time of his death.

Mean­while, the Palestini­an head of a re­lated probe on Tues­day said he is on the cusp of as­sign­ing form­al blame for the death, Re­u­ters re­por­ted. In­vest­ig­a­tion lead­er Taw­fiq Tir­awi last month called Is­rael the “only sus­pect” in the pos­sible killing, though the na­tion as­serts it had no in­volve­ment.

This art­icle was pub­lished in Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire, which is pro­duced in­de­pend­ently by Na­tion­al Journ­al Group un­der con­tract with the Nuc­le­ar Threat Ini­ti­at­ive. NTI is a non­profit, non­par­tis­an group work­ing to re­duce glob­al threats from nuc­le­ar, bio­lo­gic­al, and chem­ic­al weapons.

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