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Arafat widow rejects French findings of 'natural death'

AFP

Yasser Arafat’s widow said Wednesday that she still believes her husband was poisoned, a day after French investigators announced that the late Palestinian leader likely died a “natural death”.

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Yasser Arafat’s widow said Wednesday that she still believes her husband was poisoned, a day after French investigators announced that the late Palestinian leader likely died a “natural death”.

"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," Suha Arafat told AFP.

A source close to the French investigation said on Tuesday that the team "rules out the poisoning theory and goes in the [direction] of a natural death".

"I'm shocked by [the results of] the French medical report, of which I only received four pages to look at," she said.

The French experts' findings differ from those of Swiss scientists, who said in November that their research offered some support for the suggestion Arafat was killed by poisoning. The Swiss team said that an examination of Arafat’s remains found “unexpectedly high levels” of polonium-210, a deadly radioactive isotope.

"The Swiss report was a detailed, 107-page, professional report talking in detail about the presence of polonium on Arafat's clothes," Suha said.

"How the French haven't found anything is completely illogical," she said.

Competing probes

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.

His body was exhumed for further tests in November last year, when some 60 new samples were taken and divided between Swiss and Russian investigators and a French team of experts.

Many Palestinians believe he was poisoned by Israel, a claim Israel has repeatedly denied.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP that the results of the French probe were "no surprise".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

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