News / Middle East

Arafat's Body May be Exhumed for Tests

PLO security officer in front of a portrait of the late Palestinian leader at camp Ein el-Hilweh, Sidon, Lebanon, June 19, 2012.PLO security officer in front of a portrait of the late Palestinian leader at camp Ein el-Hilweh, Sidon, Lebanon, June 19, 2012.
x
PLO security officer in front of a portrait of the late Palestinian leader at camp Ein el-Hilweh, Sidon, Lebanon, June 19, 2012.
PLO security officer in front of a portrait of the late Palestinian leader at camp Ein el-Hilweh, Sidon, Lebanon, June 19, 2012.
VOA News
Traces of the radioactive poisonous element polonium have been found in the belongings of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, according to the Swiss-based Institute of Radiophysics.

Institute spokesman Darcy Christen told Reuters news agency "surprisingly" high levels of polonium-210 were found in Arafat's belongings. But he stressed clinical symptoms described in Arafat's medical reports were not consistent with polonium-210 poisoning.

Institute director Francois Bochud told al-Jazeera television the only way to confirm whether the Palestinian leader, who died in 2004, was poisoned with polonium would be to exhume Arafat's body.

Arafat's widow, Suha, told al-Jazeera she would ask for his body, buried in the West Bank town of Ramallah, to be exhumed.

According to the Associated Press, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that Arafat's body may be exhumed to allow for more testing of the causes of his death.

Polonium-210

  • Highly radioactive
  • Toxic if it enters the body by eating, breathing or through a wound
  • Occurs naturally and is present in the environment in low concentrations
  • Releases a great deal of energy
  • Was discovered by Marie Sklodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie in 1898

Source: IAEA
Arafat, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who led the Palestine​ Liberation Organization for nearly four decades, died at age 75 in a Paris hospital following several weeks of treatment. Citing privacy laws, French officials refused to reveal the precise cause of death, fueling rumors and theories as to the cause of his illness.

Polonium was found to have caused the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, and he was assumed to have been deliberately poisoned.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Michael from: USA
July 05, 2012 8:39 AM
In the Israeli-Palestinian project both of war and side-by-side adaptation, what remains occluded is the common sense over an exhumed body to be examined with sophisticated tests, speaks of a way of life half-way orderly, as if adapted to large and sweeping corrupt attitudes and aberrant behavior
In Response

by: Robert from: UK
July 05, 2012 10:48 AM
the Irony here is that France had as much interest killing this disgusting smelly slime as anyone in the West... and, more to the point, France could have easily effectuated it too.... they had this cretin in a French Hospital known for its use of radioactive "treatments"

by: Hassan Banna from: Jordan
July 04, 2012 12:38 PM
what a stench that must be... treacherous pedophile!!!!
In Response

by: Holdersen from: UK
July 05, 2012 7:12 AM
for Arabs to nurse the memory of this venomous cretin is a disgrace in itself. Whoever was responsible for his demise (UK, Russia, Israel, US....) - I say - you have done Humanity a great service.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs