First Published: 2012-11-11

 

Russia helps Palestinians probe Arafat’s enigmatic death

 

Palestinians are coordinating with Russia, as well as Swiss, French experts, on exhumation of late President Yasser Arafat.

 

Middle East Online

Biggest secret in history of Palestine

RAMALLAH (Palestinian Territories) - Palestinians are coordinating with Russia, as well as Swiss and French experts, on the exhumation of late President Yasser Arafat, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Sunday.

Arafat died in a French military hospital near Paris on November 11, 2004 and French experts were unable to say what had killed him, with many Palestinians convinced he was poisoned by Israel.

"We are currently in coordination with the French investigators, the Swiss experts, and also the Russian government to open the tomb," Abbas said in a speech marking the eighth anniversary of Arafat's death.

His comments were the first time Palestinian officials have said that Russia is involved in the new investigation into Arafat's death.

"We hope for new facts that we can tell our people and the public," Abbas said, adding that the investigation was "bigger and more important" that the "media uproar" created by an Al-Jazeera inquiry into Arafat's death.

French prosecutors opened a murder inquiry in August after Al-Jazeera television broadcast an investigation in which Swiss experts said they had found high levels of radioactive polonium on Arafat's personal effects.

A French team is due to arrive in Ramallah on November 26 to begin work on exhuming the body, Palestinian sources said last month, adding that Swiss experts would arrive at the same time for an operation that could take "several weeks or a month."

Polonium is a highly toxic substance rarely found outside military and scientific circles.

It was used to kill former Russian spy turned Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, who died in 2006 in London shortly after drinking tea laced with the poison.

The French murder inquiry was opened in late August at the request of Arafat's widow Suha, who had refused to give her permission for an autopsy at the time of his death.

This week, Nasser al-Qidwa, Arafat's nephew and the head of the Yasser Arafat Foundation, repeated his "opposition in principle" to an exhumation, "primarily because samples collected after eight years may not be clinically exploitable."

"Every Palestinian is convinced that Arafat was murdered," he said, "but even opening his tomb won't convince the sceptics of the truth."

The anniversary is being marked in the West Bank with a series of events, including candlelit vigils for the iconic leader.

In Gaza, local members of Arafat's Fatah movement said the ruling Hamas movement was preventing them for participating in ceremonies to mark the late president's death.

 

Erdogan asks Americans: Who’s your partner, Turkey or Kurds?

Algeria parliament adopts Bouteflika’s constitutional reforms

Turkey promises to let in Syria refugees 'if necessary'

UAE ready to send ground troops to Syria

Iran carmaker reveals 427 million euros in Peugeot perks

Hamas armed branch executes one of its own members

Syria army advances towards rebel town of Tal Rifaat

Netherlands probes civilian casualties in Iraq air strikes

Tunisia completes construction of Libya border fence

Algeria parliament to vote on constitutional reforms

Egypt returns body of Italian student Giulio Regeni

Iran reverses mass ban on candidates for parliamentary polls

Thousands of Syria refugees brave bad weather at border with Turkey

New photos reveal serious abuse of Iraq prisoners in US facilities

EU reminds Turkey: Keep your border open to Syria refugees

Somalia recaptures key port of Merka from Shebab

Iran warns Saudi Arabia over possible ground action in Syria

Palestinian journalist to keep up hunger strike

Iraq’s Sistani to end weekly political sermons

Shebab fighters recapture key port in Somalia

Syria regime forces close in on Daraa

Israeli leaders slam Arab MPs, refuse to return Palestinian corpses

IS jihadists rise in Libya, drop in Iraq and Syria

World powers pledge $10 billion to help war-hit Syrians

Morocco king inaugurates first solar power plant

Saudi ready to send ground troops to Syria

Israel charges cop for exposing woman's ID

Russia accuses Turkey of preparing to invade Syria

Syria talks were an inevitable failure

Saudi says Iranian pilgrims still welcome

Italy demands truth from Egypt over slain student

Fear stalks Libya's Sirte

US adds $890 million to Syria humanitarian aid effort

Tunisia lifts nationwide curfew

Two Israelis jailed for burning Palestinian teen alive

Sweden expects 100,000 asylum seekers in 2016

Turkey refuses access to Russian flight as Aleppo bombardment continues

40,000 Syrians flee Assad regime's Aleppo offensive

US implicitly blames Russia for collapse of Syria peace talks

Rome summons Egypt’s ambassador over student’s death

Israeli forces lock down West Bank town

Two Algerians 'linked to IS' arrested in Germany

Assad regime accused of undermining Syria peace talks

Top Qaeda chief killed in Yemen drone attack

EU agrees on details of Turkey refugee deal as Italy drops objections