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.
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.


  • 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.

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Comment Sorting
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.

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