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September 4, 2015 10:20 am

French Prosecutors Drop Investigation Into Yasser Arafat’s Death

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Yasser Arafat. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Yasser Arafat. Photo: World Economic Forum. French prosecutors have announced that they have decided to drop the investigation into the death of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

A probe into Arafat’s death was launched in 2012 at the urging of his widow, Suha Arafat, who has argued that his 2004 death in a French hospital was the result of a poisoning. While the official cause of Arafat’s death was a stroke, Swiss forensic experts claimed that samples they had tested from Arafat’s body indicated radioactive polonium poisoning, though not definitively. But further testing by French forensic scientists and Russian experts did not find evidence of polonium poisoning.

Suha Arafat will challenge the prosecutors’ decision in an appeals court, her lawyer told Reuters.

As the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Arafat drew world attention to the Palestinian cause through the use of terrorism throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Later, Arafat allegedly disavowed terrorism, signing the 1993 Oslo Accords with Israel, which established Arafat as the president of the newly formed Palestinian Authority. But Israel long accused Arafat of supporting terrorism post-Oslo and blamed him for launching the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) in 2000.

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