Three French judges who are investigating the claim that Yasser Arafat was poisoned in 2004 are seeking approval to travel to the West Bank to exhume the former Palestinian leader’s body for further testing, Al-Jazeera reported.
An investigative report by Al-Jazeera and a Swiss institute found high levels of the radioactive element polonium-210, a rare and highly lethal radioactive substance, on Arafat’s clothing. Last month, French courts reopened an investigation into Arafat’s death following pressure from Arafat’s wife Suha based on the new claims.
Arafat died in Paris in 2004 at age 75 from a massive stroke, according to French doctors. While no autopsy was conducted following his death, many in the Arab world have claimed he was poisoned.
However, experts say the Palestinian Authority (PA) started rumors that Arafat was poisoned due to its pressure to deliver a political breakthrough amid the upheaval of the “Arab Spring.”
“This is the only weapon at [the PA’s] disposal,” Palestinian politics expert Hillel Frisch told the Times of Israel in July. “But they’re not going to get anywhere with it. The dead don’t mobilize the living.”