TEL-AVIV, November 27 (Itar-Tass) — The Palestinian authorities have imposed a strict ban on media coverage of the procedure of exhumation of Yasser Arafat, sources close to the Russian delegation that arrived to participate in the procedure told Itar-Tass on Monday.
“The Palestinian side is extremely sensitive to any attempts of the press to communicate with the experts – Russian, Swiss, as well as French specialists,” the source said. “They are always accompanied by a representative of the local authorities who prevents any contacts with the media.”
At the same time, the Palestinian National Authority have not reported any details of the procedure, in particular, the regime and location of the samples that will be taken from the burial site, as well as when it is planned to publish the results. Head of the Investigation Committee Tawfiq Al-Tirawi stated on Sunday that it would take “an indefinite time.” Arafat’s mausoleum in Ramallah and the surrounding areas are cordoned off by the security services.
On Sunday, three Russian experts arrived in Ramallah at the request of the Palestinian side. Together with the French and the Swiss experts, the Russian specialists will analyse samples taken from the grave of the first head of the Palestinian National Authority Yasser Arafat. Russia’s representative to the PNA Alexander Rudakov said that the “Russian experts will do the same work as their foreign counterparts.”
The exhumation procedure was scheduled for Tuesday in a closed to the press and public regime, and after taking sampled Arafat’s body will be returned to his mausoleum with the appropriate honours.
The decision on opening the grave of the Palestinian leader was taken at the request of his widow Soha over the suspicions and indirect evidence that Arafat could have been poisoned with polonium-210. At the request and under supervision of the Palestinian National Authority, three groups of specialists - from Russia, France and Switzerland will in parallel conduct examination of the taken samples.