In an attempt to clear the mystery behind the death of Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, Palestinian authorities exhumed Arafat’s body under strict security for investigations. Palestinian authorities are trying to find out whether Arafat died of poisoning by Polonium-210, a harmful radioactive substance.
An international team of scientists assisted by Russia, Switzerland and France are trying to contribute in what could provide significant clues to the mystery behind’s death.
Tawfiq Tirawi - the head of the Palestinian committee investigating Arafat's death carried out the exhumation in strict secrecy; no one was allowed except the scientists, and journalists were prevented access to the site.
The remains were extracted from Arafat’s mausoleum and shifted to a mosque adjacent to the tomb in the Palestinian presidency's Ramallah headquarters. The samples would be tested for traces of Polonium- 210, a poisonous radioactive substance. The tests are expected to take at least three months.
Initially there was a plan to bury the remains of the Palestinian leader with full military honors. However, the body was exhumed within six hours and the ceremonies cancelled. The Palestinian authorities decided that the samples removed from the coffin did not require a reburial.
The decision to exhume Arafat’s body initiated after his widow Suha detected traces of Polonium-210 in Arafat’s clothes. The Palestinian leader died in 2004, at a hospital in Paris, a month after falling ill. Since then, there have been speculations from Palestinian officials that Arafat was poisoned by Israel. However, Tel Aviv has blatantly denied the allegations.