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Daily Israel Report

PA Receives Report on Arafat 'Poisoning'

The PA has received the reports of forensic investigations into the death of former PA Chairman, but won't make the findings public...yet.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/6/2013, 5:43 AM

Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
AFP photo

Palestinian Authority officials have received the reports of Swiss and Russian forensic investigations into the 2004 death of former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, an official told the AFP news agency Tuesday.

He would not, however, disclose the findings.

"The report was delivered" by the Swiss laboratory, Tawfiq Tirawi, who heads the PA investigation into Arafat's death, told AFP.

Official PA news agency WAFA said that a Russian team appointed by the Palestinian Authority also handed in its report on November 2 and that its conclusions would be made public in due course.

Some 60 samples were taken from Arafat’s remains in November last year for a probe into whether he was poisoned by polonium.

The samples were divided between the Swiss and Russian investigators and a French team carrying out a probe at the request of Arafat's widow Suha.

Arafat died at age 74 in 2004. He died in a French hospital, where he was being treated after having fallen seriously ill. At the time, his family refused to allow an autopsy.

In 2009 PA leaders, among them Arafat’s replacement, Mahmoud Abbas, began publicly suggesting Israel was to blame for his death. Suha Arafat provided some of his clothing to a laboratory for analysis, and the clothing was found to contain polonium, a radioactive element that can cause fatal poisoning.

An expert from Russia’s Federal Medical-Biological Agency was quoted last month as saying that Arafat could not have died of polonium poisoning.

The expert reportedly claimed that the Russian experts found no traces of this substance on Arafat’s remains, but shortly after the report went public, the agency involved denied the statement.

Swiss experts confirmed over the weekend that they had found traces of polonium on clothes belonging to Arafat. However, the tests so far have not confirmed that Arafat was poisoned, or indicated who may have been behind it.

PA leaders have threatened to petition the International Criminal Court in The Hague if the investigation finds proof that Arafat was poisoned.