France closes investigation into claims of poisoning Palestine’s Arafat

Published September 3rd, 2015 - 04:48 GMT

French prosecutors closed an investigation into claims Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was murdered by a lethal dose of radioactive polonium.

Arafat died in Paris in 2004 of a stroke after a serious blood disorder was diagnosed, but his widow requested the opening of a murder case in 2012. She said traces of polonium-210 were found on his belongings during an investigation by Swiss analysts and the Al Jazeera news network.

His tomb in Ramallah, West Bank, was opened, his body was exhumed and samples were taken for investigation by three teams of Swiss, French and Russian investigators.

Analysis has been difficult, in part, because Arafat was a heavy smoker and cigarettes have strong concentrations of the poisonous element. Polonium-210 gained notoriety after it was blamed in the 2006 poisoning death in London of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

In a statement, prosecutors in Nanterre, France, near Paris, said poisoning by polonium had "not been demonstrated," and that the inquiry would not continue.

By Ed Adamczyk

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