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Possible evidence of Arafat poisoning is reported

By Mohammed Daraghmeh

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:04 p.m. HST, Nov 06, 2013

RAMALLAH, West Bank >> Swiss scientists have found evidence suggesting that Yasser Arafat may have been poisoned, adding new fuel to long-standing allegations about the Palestinian leader's death, a TV station reported Wednesday.

Al-Jazeera published what it said was a long-awaited 108-page report by a team of Swiss experts who tested Arafat's remains. The scientists wrote that "the results moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210," according to the pan-Arab satellite channel.

Senior Palestinian officials repeatedly have alleged that Arafat was poisoned by Israel. The Israelis denied the allegations.

Raanan Gissin, a former Israeli government spokesman, reiterated Wednesday that Israel had no role.

"It was a government decision not to touch Arafat at all," he said, adding that "if anyone poisoned him, it could have been someone from his close circle."

Suha Arafat, the Palestinian leader's widow, said she was shocked and saddened by the report's findings.

In his final days "he was so ill, losing everything, his immunity. He was shrinking day by day," she told Al-Jazeera. "It is a very, very, very sad day. It wounds the heart, and this wound, we cannot close it."

She said the family had no autopsy at the time and wanted him buried quickly according to Muslim tradition.

A relative of Arafat also confirmed the report was authentic. He spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the findings.

A Palestinian committee that has been investigating Arafat's 2004 death also received a copy of the report, but declined comment. The head of the committee, Tawfik Tirawi, said details would be presented at a news conference in coming days.

Arafat died at a French hospital in 2004, but the cause of death has never been determined.

Last year, a Swiss lab discovered traces of polonium-210, a deadly radioactive isotope, on clothes provided by Arafat's widow. More samples were subsequently taken from his remains in the West Bank.

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HanabataDays wrote:
Who could get their hands on Polonium-210? It's not available at Home Depot. Russia can produce perhaps up to 100 gm per year. And there was an interesting series of deaths, allegedly due to Polonium-210, between 1957-69 ... in Israel.
on November 6,2013 | 08:52AM
allie wrote:
Clearly Israeli agents did it. They have spied on the USA as well. Israel is a vicious, dangerous country that illegally is taking Palestinian land. They are not at all an ally of America although their control over our congress and foreign policy should terrify us.
on November 6,2013 | 09:48AM
lee1957 wrote:
Boo hoo, boo hoo, poor oppressed Palestinians. Its a large leap to connect spying with assassination.
on November 6,2013 | 10:41AM
geralddeheer wrote:
"Clearly Israeli agents did it." Proof? Or just conjecture. BTW, how are the Hawaii Congressional Delegation controlled by Israel? Any proof? Or more conjecture? Or bigotry?
on November 6,2013 | 10:49AM
Heart wrote:
Polonium-210 was also used, allegedly by Russian agents, to assassinate former Soviet spy Alexander Litvinenko. According to once secret tobacco industry documents, it also exists in tobacco products, something that the industry did not release publicly after learning about the issue in its crops. It came to light publiclyafter the industry was forced to release its documents after being sued by multiple states (including Hawaii) and agreeing to a legal settlement. The source of Po-210 in tobacco is attributed to agronomic cultural practices, in particular the amount of phosphate fertilizer and cropping procedures. Polonium-210 has been found both in raw tobacco and tobacco smoke. Health risks of snuff which contains high levels of nitrosamines are further exacerbated by its relatively high levels of Po-210 as compared to other tobacco products. One milligram of Polonium emits as much radiation energy as 5 grams of Radium. Polonium-210 has a half life of 138 days and is considered a very strong emitter of alpha radiation. Polonium is a highly toxic element and its alpha particles will damage organic tissue if ingested or absorbed even though they will not penetrate the epidermis. Its danger is when the element is inside the body. A dose of 400 microg of Polonium-210 is 3,400 times the lethal dose……the size of the period at the end on this sentence. Po-210 has been reported to localize in the lung bronchial epithelium and has been demonstrated to be responsible inducing lung cancer in laboratory animals at 1/5 the exposure dosage of a daily long term high dose smokers due to concentrated deposition in lung tissue compared to natural background radiation. A two pack a day smoker will absorb a radiation dose of ca. 1,300 mrem per year v. 200 mrem from Radon.
on November 6,2013 | 09:16AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Sounds like a job well done.
on November 6,2013 | 05:38PM
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