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France

Arafat exhumation results not ready before March 2013

media Forensic experts took samples from Arafat's buried corpse in the West Bank on Tuesday, trying to determine if he was murdered by Israeli agents using the hard-to-trace radioactive poison, Polonium. Reuters/Mohamad Torokman

Results of tests on the remains of Yasser Arafat are not expected before March next year. The late Palestinian leader's body was exhumed on Tuesday and experts have warned that it may be too late to find proof of suspicions that he was murdered by radioactive poisoning.

French magistrates are in Ramallah all week to investigate claims that Arafat's death in Paris in 2004  may have been murder.

Palestinians have always considered the sudden death as suspicious.

Earlier this year a Swiss institute told Al Jazeera television that they had found of the radoactive substance polonium on his clothes.

In order to find traces of polonium an examination needs to be carried out within eight years.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Doctors in Lausanne stated in August  that delaying examining the body until November could invalidate the chance of finding results.

Palestinian Health Minister Hani Abdeen told an assembled press conference Tuesday that Arafat’s remains provided no evidence on first sight:

“The state of the body is exactly what we’d expect to find in someone who has been buried for eight years," he said. "So I don’t think there was anything out of the norm in releasing a body after eight years of burial,”

Exhuming a body is seen as forbidden under Islamic law, but the death of such an iconic figure is seen as exceptional circumstances.

Justice Minister Abdullah Al-Bashir voiced the hopes of many Palestinians that some evidence will be found which could lead to a conviction.

“Now, we are not talking about possibilities, we are talking about evidences [sic]," he pointed out. "Before we were talking about possibilities, but now we will wait for the evidence.”

Due to the nature of the tests to be carried out, results are not expected until at least March 2013.

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