Arafat not poisoned, French experts claim natural causes for death
Arafat’s body was exhumed in order for medical examiners to take samples of his remains to test for polonium. [davidicke]
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Medical tests conducted in France have ruled out poison in the 2004 death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, his widow said Tuesday.
A source told Middle East Online the French experts' report "rules out the poisoning theory and goes in the sense of a natural death."
The latest findings run counter to those of Swiss scientists, who said last month their research indicated a possibility Arafat could have been killed by radioactive polonium poisoning.
Arafat died at a French military hospital near Paris at age 75. A French coroner said he died of a cerebral hemorrhage, but a complete autopsy was not conducted.
In 2012, an Al-Jazeera documentary raised the specter of polonium poisoning, prompting further examination of his case, with his body exhumed so dozens of samples of his remains could be taken for testing.
Arafat's wife, Suha, who requested the investigation into her husband's death last year, said the French and Swiss scientists should go over the conclusions of their respective reports together, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"You can imagine how distressed I am by these contradictions from Europe's best experts," she said.
"I obviously trust justice and science, from the moment that all the experts reach agreement."
CNN quoted her as saying, "I'm convinced there is something wrong, and he did not die from a natural death."
The French investigators found above-average levels of polonium-210 but said it could have been from a natural source in the environment, Suha Arafat told reporters.
Darcy Christen, a spokesman for the Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland, said the Swiss team's "original findings still stand."
"A key question here is whether the French team went as far as we did in our analysis," Christen said.