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PA Says it Will Continue to Investigate Arafat's Death

PA dismisses Russian report that Arafat died of natural causes, says it will continue to investigate his death.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/27/2013, 3:45 AM

Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority (PA) said Thursday it would continue its investigation into the death of its former chairman Yasser Arafat, even after a team of Russian forensic experts said that he died of "natural causes", and ruled out radiation poisoning as a cause of death.

"I can only say that there is already a decision to continue (the investigation)," the PA ambassador to Russia, Faed Mustafa, told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

"We respect [the experts’] position, we highly value their work but there is a decision to continue work," he declared. "We need a result, a final and concrete result to take the issue off the table."

Earlier, the head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) Vladimir Uiba said that Arafat “died a natural death and not from radiation.”

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.

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.

She  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.

Suha Arafat recently said she would challenge the French experts’ findings.

PA society has long given currency to the rumor that Arafat was murdered, with Israel the party most often blamed, but there has never been any proof. Israeli leaders for their part have repeatedly denied any role in his death, dismissing such suggestions as pure fiction.