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Yasser Arafat poisoning crime of century, says Palestinian leader's widow
Sunday November 10, 2013 10:02 PM, IINA

After two-year examination of the body of deceased Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, Swiss forensic tests have revealed that he was poisoned to death in 2004 with radioactive polonium, raising questions about culprit and motives.

"When they came with the results, I'm mourning Yasser again," Suha Arafat, the Palestinian leader's widow, Al Jazeera channel quoted her as saying. "It's like you just told me he died. This is the crime of the century."

Nine years after Arafat's death, the new tests, conducted by Swiss scientists accompanied by French and Russian teams, found at least 18 times the normal levels of radioactive polonium in Arafat's remains.

"New toxicological and radio-toxicological investigations were performed, demonstrating unexpectedly high-levels of polonium-210 and lead-210 activity in many of the analyzed specimens," reads the report obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera.

The report by the University Centre of Legal Medicine in Lausanne confirmed old theories about Arafat's assassination.

"Yasser Arafat died of polonium poisoning," Dave Barclay, a UK forensic scientist and retired detective, who told Al Jazeera, adding that he was convinced that Arafat was murdered.

"We found the smoking gun that caused his death. What we don't know is who's holding the gun at the time.

"The level of polonium in Yasser Arafat's rib … is about 900 millibecquerels. That is either 18 or 36 times the average, depending on the literature," Barclay noted.

The release of the new results revived bad memories of Arafat's last days. "It's shocking … I remember how Yasser was shrinking at the hospital, how in his eyes there were a lot of questions," Suha told the Guardian. "Death is a fate in life, it is everybody's fate, but when it's poison it's terrible. We are mourning him again now."

In July 2012, a documentary by Al-Jazeera television about Arafat's death has raised suspicions that the Palestinian leader might have been poisoned by radioactive plutonium. After releasing the investigation results, Hamas has pointed figure to Israel of assassinating Arafat.

"The forensic report shows that Arafat's death was not natural and that he was assassinated," Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, November 6. "Hamas accuses the Israeli occupation of being behind the assassination," he added.

Confined by Israel to his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah for three years after a Palestinian uprising erupted, an ailing Arafat collapsed in October 2004.

Foreign doctors flocked to his bedside from Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan amid public assurances from Arafat's aides over the next two weeks that he was suffering from no more than the flu. But looking weak and thin - and telling aides "God willing, I will be back" - he was airlifted to a military hospital in France, where he slipped into a coma and died on November 11, 2004.

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