Results from Arafat tissue tests to take 'at least three months'


Tissue samples removed yesterday from the body of the late former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will take weeks to examine and results will not be known for at least three months, said one of the medics involved, Jordanian doctor Abdullah al Bashir, head of the Palestinian medical committee.

The aim of the examination, which happened without a full exhumation from Arafat’s grave in Ramallah, is to determine if he was poisoned.

Since his death in a French hospital eight years ago, there have been persistent claims he was murdered by Israeli agents using the hard-to-trace radioactive poison polonium. Traces of polonium were said to have been found on clothing he wore in his final days. The tomb was resealed within hours. “The state of the body was exactly what you would expect to find for someone who has been buried for eight years. There was nothing out of the ordinary,” said health minister Hani Abdeen.

French magistrates in August opened a murder inquiry into Arafat’s death after a Swiss institute said it discovered high levels of polonium on clothing supplied by his widow, Suha, for a television documentary.

– (Reuters)