Daily Israel Report

Russian Experts Confirm: Arafat Died of Natural Causes

Russian scientists echo French team in refuting claims the former Palestinian Authority leader was poisoned.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 12/26/2013, 12:06 PM

Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Flash 90

A team of Russian forensic experts have said that former Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Yasser Arafat died of "natural causes", and ruled out radiation poisoning as a cause of death, according to Lebanon's Daily Star.

"We have completed all the studies. The person died a natural death and not from radiation," announced the head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) Vladimir Uiba, according to Russia state media.

The announcement echoes previous findings by a group of French experts, who also ruled out foul play as contributing towards Arafat's death.

Both findings contradict a report by a team of Swiss scientists, who claimed that it was likely Arafat was killed by polonium poisoning, though they clarified that the test results neither confirmed nor denied polonium was the actual cause of his death.

Those findings have been viewed with skepticism in some parts however, due to revelations that Arafat's former wife was funding the investigation, along with the Palestinian Authority itself. Other experts have poured doubt on the findings themselves, saying that if polonium had been used to kill Arafat it would have decomposed long ago.

Arafat's ex-wife Suha Arafat had refused to accept the French findings, and a recent poll suggested widespread support for conspiracy theories surrounding the former PA leader's death among Palestinian Arabs, and blame Israel for his death.

Yasser Arafat died in France on November 11, 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to conclusively determine the cause of death. At the time, his widow Suha Arafat refused to allow an autopsy.

Suha Arafat later allowed investigators to exhume his body after traces of polonium-210 were found on clothing that she provided to scientists as part of an Al Jazeera documentary.