Radiation experts in Switzerland have confirmed they have discovered traces of polonium on clothing used by Yasser Arafat, which help “support the possibility” the veteran terrorist Palestinian leader was poisoned.
The news was announced in a report published by The Lancet over the weekend. The team provided the scientific details regarding statements made by the media in 2012 that they had discovered polonium on Arafat’s belongings.
Arafat, who was the head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and a terrorist responsible for the death of American citizens, died in France on November 11, 2004 at the age of 75. Following his demise doctors said they were unable to determine and exact cause of death. Part of the reason was in keeping in line with his widow’s request, no autopsy was performed.
Following his death various theories begin to emerge regarding what caused his death. One of these was that died of AIDS and was a closet homosexual. Others speculated that he was poisoned, a theory that gained credibility following the assassination of Russian ex-spy and Kremlin critic, Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.
Last year, in an attempt to lay the rumors to rest, his remains were exhumed and samples were taken in order to be examined.
According to the Lancet report, eight scientists working at the Institute of Radiation Physics and University Centre of Legal Medicine in Lausanne said they had carried out radiological tests on 75 samples.
Thirty-eight of the samples came from Arafat’s personal clothing and belongings, including underwear, toothbrush, sportswear, a hospital cap and shapka hat. In order to preserve the integrity of the test, the items were tested against 37 other reference samples of cotton clothing that was kept in an attic for the past 10 years where it was protected from dust.
The results were startling.
“Several samples containing body fluid stains (blood and urine) contained higher unexplained polonium 210 activities than the reference samples,” says the case report. “These findings support the possibility of Arafat’s poisoning with polonium 210.”
The report also goes on to say that while they are still unsure of the cause of death, they “could not rule out polonium poisoning.”
However, despite the presence of the radioactive element, the scientists reported that Arafat’s body did not reveal any signs of hair loss or decline in bone marrow activity that is typically associated with radiation poisoning.
“An autopsy would have been useful in this case because although potential polonium poisoning might not have been identified during that procedure, body samples could have been kept and tested afterwards,” the report lamented.