Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat AFP/File

French investigators into the death of former Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat will arrive on November 26 in Ramallah, a PA source familiar with the case told AFP on Tuesday.

"We have been informed that the French commission of inquiry will arrive on November 26 to commence its work," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"Reaching Arafat's body and taking specimens for analysis will take time, maybe several weeks or a month," the source said, adding that experts from the Institute of Radiation Physics at Switzerland's University of Lausanne would arrive at the same time as the French investigators.

"The Palestinian Authority will provide these teams with every facility in order to determine the circumstances of the death of president Yasser Arafat," the source said.

French prosecutors opened a murder inquiry into Arafat's death after the Al-Jazeera news channel broadcast an investigation in which Swiss experts said they found high levels of radioactive polonium on his personal effects.

In July, current PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Arafat's widow Suha both gave their consent for samples to be taken from his remains, which are buried in a mausoleum in Ramallah.

Arafat’s nephew has said that he opposes plans to exhume Arafat’s body to check claims he was poisoned, favoring instead an international commission of enquiry.