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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid