News / Middle East

Palestinian Investigator: Israel 'Only Suspect' in Arafat's Death

Swiss Confirm Polonium in Arafat's Remainsi
X
November 08, 2013 5:43 AM
Swiss forensic scientists have confirmed that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat ingested lethal radioactive polonium before his death nine years ago - at such high levels that it could not have been an accident.
Swiss Confirm Polonium in Arafat's Remains
Scott Bobb
Amid scientific revelations this week that their late leader, Yasser Arafat, may have died by poisoning, Palestinian officials said Friday they suspect Israel was behind the plot. But Israeli officials deny the charge.
 
The head of the Palestinian committee investigating the death of Yasser Arafat told reporters (Friday) that the long-time Palestinian leader’s death nine years ago was not from natural causes.
 
Former Palestinian Intelligence Chief Tawfiq Tirawi was reacting to a Swiss study of Arafat’s remains that found he might have been poisoned.

He says the core issue is to find out who stands behind the death of Arafat and who has the technical and scientific means to carry out the plot. And, he says, the Palestinian committee considers Israel to be the first and only suspect in the assassination.
 
Israeli officials vehemently denied the charge. Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said the Palestinians have no proof.
 
"I want to say this as clearly as I can: Israel did not kill [Yasser] Arafat, period. It's as simple as that. There is nothing more to it. We have nothing to do with it," he said.
 
Arafat died in 2004 at the age of 75 after being flown in poor health to Europe from the West Bank. He had been under siege in Ramallah by Israeli forces because of terrorist attacks in what is known as the Second Intifada.
 
Many Palestinians believe he was poisoned by a dose of the radioactive element polonium. Polonium is rare and hard to detect. It was allegedly used in the murder of a former Russian secret agent in Britain seven years ago.
 
Arafat’s widow, last year, agreed to allow her husband’s remains to be exhumed as part of an investigation into his death. Forensic teams from Russia, France and Switzerland conducted separate studies of the samples.
 
Results from the French study have not been released. Arafat’s personal physician, Abdallah Bashir, said the Russian study did not find evidence of the radioactive substance.
 
He says the Russian team concluded that the comprehensive report did not give sufficient evidence to support the finding that Polonium-210 caused acute radiation syndrome leading to death.
 
Polonium decays rapidly and many specialists doubt that enough traces of it could be found in Arafat’s grave so long after his death.
 
But the Swiss investigators said the traces they found were 18 times higher than normal. As a result they said there was what they called moderate support for the theory that he was poisoned.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs