JNN 18 Oct 2013 Paris : A report by one of the world’s leading medical journals has supported earlier findings that Yasser Arafat, the late leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was poisoned to death nearly a decade ago.
According to British journal the Lancet, Arafat was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium 210.
The journal published a peer review of last year’s research by Swiss scientists, who have been researching the suspicious circumstances surrounding Arafat’s death.
The earlier work “found high levels of the highly radioactive element in blood, urine, and saliva stains” on Arafat’s “clothes and toothbrush,” according to a report on al-Jazeera.
In July 2012, experts at Lausanne University, Switzerland, said they had evidence Arafat might have been poisoned with polonium.
The investigation into Arafat’s mysterious death led to the exhumation of his body in November 2012 for further testing.
The decision to exhume Arafat’s body was made after French prosecutors opened a murder probe into his death in August 2012 following the discovery of high levels of polonium on his personal belongings.
Following a nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera, in which several of Arafat’s key belongings were sent to Paris for tests, results revealed they contained abnormal levels of polonium; a rare, highly radioactive element.
At the time of the investigation, Dr Francois Bochud, the director of the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, told Al Jazeera: “I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids.”
The results of the investigation led Suha Arafat, his wife, to call on the Palestinian Authority to have his body exhumed.
According to the Lancet publication, “[the] findings support the possibility of Arafat’s poisoning with 210Po … on the basis of [the] forensic investigation, there was sufficient doubt to recommend the exhumation of his body in 2012”. The results of that latest analysis are expected shortly.
Arafat died in 2004 at the age of 75 in a Paris military hospital. The analysis at the time was that he had a rare blood disorder.