Abbas: PLO committed to uncovering truth behind Arafat's death
A Palestinian boy cycles past a mural painted by university students depicting the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Nablus on November 9, 2013. (AFP)
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President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that the Palestinian Authority was determined to uncover the truth of how former leader Yasser Arafat died, regardless of the consequences.
“I am confident that the investigations committee will reach the truth that will be publicized to our people,” Abbas said in a recorded speech to coincide with a ceremony marking the 9th anniversary of Arafat’s death.
On Thursday, Palestinian officials demanded a global probe into the "killing" of Arafat, a day after it emerged that Swiss forensic tests showed he probably died from polonium poisoning.
With the scientific analysis purportedly showing how the Palestinian leader had died mysteriously, a senior figure in the Palestine Liberation Organization called for an international inquiry to determine who was behind it.
"The (test) results proved Arafat was poisoned by polonium, and this substance is owned by states, not people, meaning that the crime was committed by a state," said Wasel Abu Yusef of the PLO's executive committee.
"Just as a committee was formed to investigate the killing of (slain Lebanese prime minister) Rafiq Hariri, there must be a international committee to investigate the killing of president Arafat."
Also Thursday, Arafat's widow, Suha Arafat, called on Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to help with an investigation into the leader's death.
The demands come a day after Al-Jazeera published a report by Swiss scientists that said the results of tests on Arafat's remains "moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210".
Arafat died in France on Nov. 11, 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow Suha's request.
Arafat's remains were exhumed in November 2012 and samples taken, partly to investigate whether he had been poisoned - a suspicion that grew after the assassination of Russian ex-spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.