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      Israeli Tourists in London to Be Tested for Radiation Poisoning

      The Health Ministry is calling on Israelis who visited the Millennium Mayfair Hotel in London between October 30 and November 2 to undergo tests for radiation poisoning.
      By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
      First Publish: 12/17/2006, 12:02 PM / Last Update: 12/16/2006, 10:57 PM

      The health ministry offices in the government complex in Ramleh will be receiving Israelis who were staying in the hotel, or who visited the hotel's restaurant or bar, during those dates. A simple urine test will be used to determine if there was any exposure to suspected radioactive material. For further clarification, Israelis affected by the announcement are encouraged to call 08-978-8673 between 10:00 and 14:00 on weekdays.

      On Wednesday, the Health Ministry received a list of 30 people who were guests at the London hotel at which former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium-210. Trace amounts of the radioactive isotope were found during examinations of employees of the Millennium Mayfair Hotel, leading British officials to consider the possibility that random hotel guests were also exposed to the material. UK investigators compiled lists of foreign passport holders who were at the hotel around the time of Litvinenko's poisoning. In addition to Israelis, among the non-UK citizens who were possibly exposed are American, French, German and Dutch citizens.

      Litvinenko, a Russian expatriate, died on November 23 after a three-week illness brought on by ingesting polonium-210. He was convinced, according to statements he made from his hospital bed, that he was poisoned by agents of Russian President Vladimir Putin's government. Moscow called the death-bed accusation "sheer nonsense."

      Dmitry Kovtun, a businessman who was present at a November 1st meeting with Litvinenko at the Millennium Hotel, was also contaminated by a radioactive substance. He has since gone missing. German police discovered traces of radiation at sites Kotvun visited in Germany between October 28 and November 1, leading to suspicions that he may have been involved in smuggling nuclear material.