A team of Russian forensic experts studying the causes of Yasser Arafat’s death said Thursday they had ruled out the possibility that the late Palestian leader may have been subject to radiation poisoning, concluding instead that he died naturally.
Cited by the state RIA Novosti news agency, the head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA), Vladimir Uiba, announced the study had concluded that "[Yasser Arafat] died a natural death and not from radiation."
Arafat's exhumed remains have been studied by Swiss, French and Russian experts. The French have also ruled out poisoning, while the Swiss report said high levels of radioactive polonium indicated third party involvement in Arafat's 2004 death.
Arafat’s widow Suha Arafat dismissed the French results earlier this month, saying: "I'm still completely convinced that the martyr Arafat did not die a natural death, and I will keep trying to get to the truth.
"I'm shocked by [the results of] the French medical report,” she was quoted as saying.
Arafat died at a French military hospital near Paris on November 11, 2004, with doctors saying he died of a massive stroke and suffered from a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation. But their findings were inconclusive about what led to the coagulation, which has numerous possible causes.
His widow refused to allow an autopsy at the time.
France opened a formal murder inquiry into Arafat’s death at her request in August 2012, a month after an Al Jazeera documentary linked his death to polonium poisoning.
Many Palestinians believe he was poisoned by Israel, a claim Israel has repeatedly denied.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2013-12-26