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France - Palestine

French experts confirm Arafat not poisoned

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Gaza,  200. File photo.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Gaza, 200. File photo. Reuters/Suhaib Salem/Files

French experts confirmed on Monday that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was not poisoned. His death in 2004 sparked conspiracy rumours that he had been poisoned by polonium.


The experts "maintain that the polonium-210 and lead-210 found in Arafat's grave and in the samples, are of an environmental nature" said prosecutor Catherine Denis.

The reevaluation of earlier data "disproves the hypothesis of an acute ingestion of polonium-210 in the days preceeding the appearance of symptoms" she said.

In 2012, Arafat's widow alleged at a court in Nanterre - near Paris - that Arafat was assassinated.

Following this, Arafat's tomb in Ramallah was subsequently opened to three teams of investigators: French, Russian and Swiss.

The French findings in 2013 matched with the Russian ones, but the Swiss team said the poisoning theory was "more consistent" with its results as it found "abnormal levels of polonium" in samples taken from Arafat's belongings after his death. 

Arafat died, aged 75, on November 2004 in a hospital outside Paris where he had been admitted after developing stomach pains.

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