16:33 27 November 2012
The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died in 2004, is at the centre of an international investigation set to determine the reason for his death eight years later. His remains have now been exhumed so that experts can search for clues.
The news comes as France re-opened the case in August this year. This follows the lengthy inquiry that Al Jazeera TV station carried out, where officials found radioactive polonium-210 in Mr. Arafat’s personal effects.
Now Swiss, French and Russian forensic experts will carry out tests for polonium-210 after being given samples by Palestian officials. It is unknown exactly when the results from the tests will be conclusive.
The remains were exhumed from Mr. Arafat’s tomb which lies in a mausoleum in the city of Ramallah. He died in a military hospital in Paris, France, on November 11th just one month from falling ill.
Many Palestinians believe that Mr. Arafat may have been poisoned, although the initial conclusion following his death was that he suffered a stroke, with Israel being thought to be responsible. Israel has denied the allegations.
Based on reports, it is understood that the head of the Palestinian committee, Tawfik al-Tirawi, allowed no media outlet to witness the exhumation.
Mr. Arafat was a Palestinian leader for over three decades who believed in Palestinian independence. He was the first president of the Palestinian Authority as of 1996.
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