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Arafat’s mysterious death becomes a whodunit

November 7, 2013 • World News


Palestinian Hanadi Kharma, paints a mural depicting the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Nablus, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013. Swiss scientists have found evidence suggesting Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned with a radioactive substance, a TV station reported on Wednesday, prompting new allegations by his widow that the Palestinian leader was the victim of a “shocking” crime. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Yasser Arafat’s mysterious 2004 death turned into a whodunit Thursday after Swiss scientists who examined his remains said the Palestinian leader was probably poisoned with radioactive polonium.

Yet hard proof remains elusive, and nine years on, tracking down anyone who might have slipped minuscule amounts of the lethal substance into Arafat’s food or drink could be difficult.

A new investigation could also prove embarrassing — and not just for Israel, which the Palestinians have long accused of poisoning their leader and which has denied any role.

The Palestinians themselves could come under renewed scrutiny, since Arafat was holed up in his Israeli-besieged West Bank compound in the months before his death, surrounded by advisers, staff and bodyguards.

Arafat died at a French military hospital on Nov. 11, 2004, at age 75, a month after suddenly falling violently ill at his compound. At the time, French doctors said he died of a stroke and had a blood-clotting problem, but records were Login to read more

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