LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – Polonium 210 traces on Yasser Arafat belongings have prompted a new cause of death investigation. What did Yasser Arafat die of, and was Arafat poisoned by Polonium 210? Officials will exhume Arafat’s body to determine if he was poisoned in 2004 with radioactive element polonium-210, and if that lead to his death that year.
The revelations come as new evidence links Polonium 210 traces to Arafat’s belongings. A new Swiss lab has found elevated levels of the radioactive isotope on the deceased leader’s belongings. Arafat’s widow, Suha, refused an autopsy after his 2004 death. But now she admits to Al-Jazeera news that she allowed the lab to test her late husband’s belongings recently.
Researchers tell news that those belonging, including a toothbrush and a fur hat, exhibited elevated levels of polonium-210. Darcy Christen, spokesman for the Institute de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, confirmed the findings to news Tuesday.
But Christen added an additional twist to the controversy. Christen told news that, while “surprisingly” high levels of polonium-210, Christen did not believe that those traces were not consistent with Arafat’s clinical symptoms reported by attending doctors at the time.
Arafat’s toothbrush and kaffiyeh headscarf did exhibit traces of polonium-210. But the only way to confirm that polonium was inside Arafat’s body is to exhume him. “But we have to do it quite fast because polonium is decaying, so if we wait too long, for sure, any possible proof will disappear” Francois Bochud, director of the institute, told news this weekend.
Arafat’s wife tells news “We have to go further and exhume Yasser Arafat’s body to reveal the truth to all the Muslim and Arab world.”
Arafat is currently buried inside a mausoleum in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “The Authority, as it always has been, is ready to completely cooperate with and clear the way for an investigation into the true causes leading to the martyrdom of the late president,” said Nabil Abu Rdeineh, spokesman to Mahmoud Abbas, in a news statement today. French physicians who examined Arafat could not conclude a cause of death in 2004.