Scientists: Evidence Arafat was poisoned
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Swiss scientists have found evidence suggesting Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned with a radioactive substance, a TV station reported on Wednesday, prompting new allegations by his widow that the Palestinian leader was the victim of a “shocking” crime.
Palestinian officials have long accused Israel of poisoning Arafat, a claim Israel has denied. Arafat died under mysterious circumstances at a French military hospital in 2004, a month after falling ill at his Israeli-besieged West Bank compound.
The findings appear to be the most significant so far in an investigation into Arafat's death initiated by his widow, Suha, and the satellite TV station Al-Jazeera.
Last year, Switzerland's Institute of Radiation Physics discovered traces of polonium-210, a deadly radioactive isotope, on some of Arafat's belongings. Soil and bone samples were subsequently taken from Arafat's grave in the West Bank.
On Wednesday, the station published the Swiss team's 108-page report on the soil and bone samples. The results “moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210,” the report said.
Repeated attempts to reach the main author, Patrice Mangin, or the Lausanne-based institute's spokesman, Darcy Christen, were unsuccessful.
Suha Arafat told Al-Jazeera she was stunned and saddened by the findings.
“It's a shocking, shocking crime to get rid of a great leader,” she said.
She did not mention Israel, but suggested that a country with nuclear capability was involved in her husband's death. “I can't accuse anyone, but how many countries have an atomic reactor that can produce polonium?” she said.
Polonium can be a byproduct of the chemical processing of uranium, but usually is made artificially in a nuclear reactor or a particle accelerator. Israel has a nuclear research center and is also widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal, but remains ambiguous about the subject.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Peruvian nurse cares for 175 terminally ill cats
- Bombed factories in Gaza raise ire
- Liberian slum sealed off as Ebola deaths mount
- Hamas insists terrorist leader still alive despite Israeli barrage
- Neanderthals, humans may have mingled, study finds
- Social media being used to help catch British terrorist who killed Foley
- Ukrainian troops regaining control
- Islamic State fighters massacre as many as 700 Syrian tribesmen, activists report
- 111-year-old from Japan recognized as oldest man
- Air power given bigger role in China
- Landslide in Japan leaves dozens dead