A nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera discovered rare, radioactive polonium on the ex-Palestinian leader’s final belongings. The finding suggests that Arafat was poisoned with polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element. The polonium was found in blood, sweat, urine and saliva stains on his personal effects, and the levels recorded by forensic pathologists in Switzerland – who studied the items – do not occur naturally. Al Jazeera’s Clayton Swisher reports. [Al Jazeera]
AN AL JAZEERA documentary, shown above, has led to suspicions that Yasir Arafat didn’t die naturally. The Los Angeles Times speculates he may have been poisoned.
The probe was announced after recent reports that a Swiss laboratory found traces of the radioactive element polonium on Arafat’s underwear and toothbrush, leading Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat, to file an official complaint in July for an investigation.
The Daily Beast also picked up the story:
Eight years after Yasir Arafat’s mysterious death in a military hospital outside Paris, authorities in France have opened an assassination inquiry to determine what killed the controversial Palestinian leader. The inquiry, which was opened on Tuesday, comes after a complaint filed last month by Arafat’s widow, Suha, and the couple’s daughter, Zawra, who suspect the former Palestinian Authority president died of radiation poisoning.
The investigation follows a summer of suspicion after an Al-Jazeera documentary on Arafat raised new questions about his demise. The feature, which aired in July, revealed new findings purportedly pointing to poisoning by polonium-210, the same radioactive agent found to have killed the Russian dissident and former spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. In the film, the Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne examined some of Arafat’s personal items and found abnormal quantities of the naturally occurring but highly rare radioactive material.