Swiss, Russian scientists disagree over Arafat poisoning

By Rosa Doherty, October 15, 2013

Long awaited results of a Swiss investigation show that when former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died, suggest his body may have contained higher-than-normal levels of the radioactive element that was used to kill former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

Scientists in Switzerland said they found unexplained levels of polonium 201 on Mr Arafat’s clothing and belongings. The findings are published this week in UK medical journal The Lancet.

However, Russian scientists denied this week that they had found any traces of polonium-201.

The announcements come a year after his widow, Suha Arafat, asked judges in France to launch a murder probe into his death, claiming her husband was poisoned because he was considered an “obstacle to peace” in the Middle East by the US and Israel.

Mr Arafat presided over a long period of conflict with Israel and the findings will convince some that Israeli spies were responsible. Israel has vehemently denied it was involved in his death.

Last updated: 4:30pm, November 7 2013