Investigators prepare to exhume Arafat's body
Scientists and legal experts from Switzerland, France and Russia have begun to arrive in the West Bank in order to exhume the body of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Al Jazeera reported.
The team will open Arafat's grave on Tuesday in order to test his body for radioactive polonium, according to Tawfiq al-Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian investigation committee.
A nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera found elevated levels of the substance in Arafat's final personal effects. The findings, which were broadcast in July, suggest that there was also a high level of polonium in Arafat's body when he died, raising fresh questions about what killed the longtime Palestinian leader.
The cause of Arafat's death has long remained a mystery. Some reports speculated that he died from AIDS, cirrhosis of the liver, or other diseases, but medical experts who studied his final medical records told Al Jazeera that he was in good health until he suddenly fell ill in October of 2004.
Many Palestinians have long believed that Arafat was poisoned by Israel, a charge Tirawi repeated during a press conference here on Saturday.
"We have evidence which suggests (Arafat) was poisoned by Israelis," he said. "I consider this a painful necessity. It is necessary to find the truth in the death of President Yasser Arafat."
The Israeli government has denied any involvement in his death, and refused to comment on Al Jazeera's findings.