Forensic Experts Collect Samples from Remains of Palestinian Leader

2012-11-27 17:15:01    xinhua    Web Editor: cuichaoqun

Investigators took samples from late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's exhumed remains on Tuesday to try and determine if he had been poisoned, Palestinian officials said.

"The samples were handed over to the experts," said Tawfiq Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian team investigating Arafat's death, referring to Swiss, French and Russian forensic investigators.

Arafat's body was exhumed at dawn on Tuesday and Muslim Palestinian doctors at the burial site took the samples from his bones, sources said.

Tirawi said the coffin that contains Arafat's remains was on its way for reburial.

The investigation involving international forensic experts aims to find out if Arafat's November 2004 death in a French military hospital resulted from poisoning.

The Palestinians suspect that Israel had poisoned Arafat when he was besieged in his Ramallah headquarters. Israel has denied such allegations.

Earlier this year, Swiss forensic experts tested Arafat's personal belongings as part of a documentary aired by al-Jazeera, the Doha-based Arab news network. The report cited the Institute of Radiation Physics as saying that traces of radioactive polonium-210 were found on Arafat's underwear and toothbrush.

Arafat's widow, Suha, filed a civil lawsuit at a French hospital asking for a murder investigation into her husband's death. The Palestinian leadership also decided to bring in the Russians for more credible inquiry.