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Europe

Swiss and French investigators in West Bank to exhume the remains of Yasser Arafat

media Swiss and French investigators are in Ramallah to prepare for the exhumation of former Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat. Reuters/Rula Halawani

A Swiss laboratory team and French investigators have arrived in the West Bank city of Ramallah to prepare for the exhumation of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Palestinian sources said the delegation, including the team from the Institute of Radiation Physics at Switzerland’s University of Lausanne, arrive on Monday, and met with Palestinian health minister Hani Abdeen and justice minister Ali Mhanna.

They also held talks with Twafiq Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian commission that investigated Arafat’s death in 2004, and visited the Ramallah mausoleum that houses the late leader’s grave.

Arafat’s exhumation is expected to take place on November 26 as part of a new investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Yassar Arafat died in a French military hospital near Paris on November 11, 2004.

At the time, French experts were unable to say what had killed him, and many Palestinians were convinced that he was poisoned by Israel.

French prosecutors opened a murder inquiry in August after an Al Jazeera television investigation found Swiss experts had discovered high levels of radioactive polonium on Arafat’s personal effects.

Polonium is a highly toxic chemical element. It was used to kill former Russian spy turned Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006 after drinking tea laced with the poison.

 

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