Arafat May Have Been Poisoned

Tests suggest high levels of polonium
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2012 3:55 PM CDT
Yasser Arafat, in a 1996 file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) Al Jazeera has what could be a bombshell report: Its nine-month investigation raises the strong possibility that longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was fatally poisoned in 2004. The news organization had his personal belongings, including clothes and his toothbrush, analyzed by a lab in Switzerland, and the results turned up highly radioactive polonium.

“I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids,” says the lab's director. Arafat had been healthy until suddenly becoming ill with a still-unexplained ailment. If polonium sounds familiar, it's probably because of the death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko. The spy-turned-dissident was poisoned with it in 2006. (Read more Yasser Arafat stories.)

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