France Opens Arafat Murder Investigation

Widow asks for inquiry over poisoning report
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2012 1:11 PM CDT
France Opens Arafat Murder Investigation
In this Dec. 24, 2002 file photo, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat talks to the media during a press conference at his headquarters, in the West Bank town of Ramallah.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)

France has opened a murder investigation into the death of Yasir Arafat, at the request of his widow, Suha Arafat, sources tell the AFP. The move follows reports that Arafat, who died in Paris in 2004, was poisoned to death with radioactive polonium. A Swiss radiology lab said last week that it would be testing Arafat's body for polonium, after getting the go-ahead from Suha.

The Palestinian Authority said it welcomes the inquiry. "We hope there will be a serious investigation to reveal the whole truth, in addition to an international investigation to identify all the parties involved in Arafat's martyrdom," said a spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, according to the BBC. Earlier tests revealed high polonium levels on Arafat's personal belongings. But a French website today published a copy of the medical reports into his death, and experts say his symptoms were not consistent with radiation poisoning. (More Yasser Arafat stories.)

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