New tests revive debate over Arafat death

8:28 PM, Jul 4, 2012   |    comments
Coffin of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during funeral procession, Cairo, Egypt
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JERUSALEM (AP) - The discovery of traces of a radioactive agent on clothing reportedly worn by Yasser Arafat in his final days are raising more questions about his mysterious 2004 death.

Arafat's widow, who ordered the tests by a Swiss lab, called for her husband's body to be exhumed. It will apparently happen because Arafat's successor gave tentative approval for an autopsy.

Arafat was 75 when he died in a French military hospital. He had been airlifted to the facility just weeks earlier with a mysterious illness, after being confined by Israel for three years to his West Bank headquarters.

At the time, French doctors said Arafat died of a massive stroke. According to French medical records, he had suffered inflammation, jaundice and a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC.

The uncertainty sparked speculation about the cause of death, including the possibility of AIDS, poisoning or death at the hands of Israel. Israeli officials have repeatedly denied foul play.

Experts warn that even after the detection of polonium-210, getting answers on the cause of death will be tough.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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