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Arafat’s widow says Palestinian leader was poisoned one month before death

November 19, 2013, 2:52 UTC+3 CAIRO

She claimed that one of his assistants might have put poison into a dish of soup

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CAIRO, November 19, 2:11 /ITAR-TASS/. Yasser Arafat’s widow Suha has made public a new possible evidence of causes of the legendary Palestinian leader’s death nine years ago. She claimed that one of his assistants might have put poison into a dish of soup about a month before his death.

Suha told Egypt’s Dream TV channel that the incident occurred October 12, 2004, during dinner at the presidential residence in Ramallah. According to her, Abu Ammar /the way Arafat was often referred to by family members and close friends/ tasted the soup and cringed as if he had been struck by electricity current.

Arafat then threw away the spoon and rushed to the bathroom. Ibrahim Abu al-Najah, a member of leadership of the Fatah movement and a close associate of the Palestinian leader, was a witness of the scene.

Suha Arafat was the initiator of exhumation of her husband’s remains. His body was exhumed a year ago and samples of tissues were taken for testing.

At the beginning of November, 2013, experts of the Institute of Radiophysics in Lausanne, who had been doing the tests in parallel with experts from Russia’s Federal Medico-Biological Agency at the request of leaders of the Palestinian National Authority, sent their conclusions to Ramallah.

Their 108-page report said Yasser Arafat had been poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 with a probability of 83%, as the concentration of the element in his body exceeded the normal readings by a factor of eighteen as a minimum.

Specifically, the unnaturally high concentrations of polonium-210 were found in Arafat’s ribs and hip bones. The soil taken from the place of his burial also showed elevated concentrations of the radioactive element.

It is not ruled out that the new details made public by Suha will shed light on how Arafat might have been poisoned.

Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday called for an international investigation of the causes of Arafat’s death.

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