Arafat Will Be Exhumed, Autopsied
'We are on the way,' says aide
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 9, 2012 11:54 AM CDT
FILE - In this May 31, 2002 file photo photo Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat pauses during the weekly Muslim Friday prayers in his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Yasser Arafat's body...   (LEFTERIS PITARAKIS)

(Newser) – Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has given his permission for the exhumation of the remains of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, a top aide said days after a Swiss institute reported finding elevated traces of a radioactive substance on the late leader's belongings. The findings were inconclusive, but revived speculation that Arafat was poisoned. "We are on the way to an autopsy," the aide says.

The Swiss institute has said it would need to examine Arafat's remains for conclusive findings, though a clear-cut outcome is not assured because of the decay of the substance, polonium-210, over the years. Arafat's widow, Suha, as well as the top Muslim cleric in the Palestinian territories have backed exhuming the remains. "Arafat's nephew, Nasser al-Kidwa, has been cool to the idea of an autopsy but signaled he will not stand in the way. "All indications say he was poisoned," al-Kidwa said.