Arch terrorist Yasser Arafat’s remains have been exhumed form their resting place in Ramallah as part of an ongoing murder investigation into how he met his death. Arafat died at a military hospital in Paris back in 2004. Since his death Swiss experts have contended that they found traces of radioactive polonium-201 on his clothes and other personal effects. The remains are to be tested independently by French, Swiss and Russian experts to determine if the cause of death was poisoning according to the BBC.
The French government has already begun a murder inquiry even though their own medical findings were that Arafat died of a stroke related to a blood disorder.
Arafat’s wife Suha, had originally told investigators she did not want an autopsy of Arafat’s body but then asked them to exhume the body in hopes she can learn the true cause of death. She was quoted as saying that it was time to reveal the truth.
Arafat’s bosy was interned in a masoleum in his Mukata compound in the West Bank capital of Ramallah.
The Russians are taking part in the investigation of Arafat’s death due to a lack of trust between the Palestinians and most European governments. Russia has had a long standing friendship with the Palesitinian leadership.
The half life of polonium is only five months leading to wide spread speculation among experts that the testing will either be unreliable or inconclusive.
Tawfik al-Tirawi, who is heading the investigations for the Palestinians said no journalists will be permitted to observe the exhumation or testing of Arafat’s body. He said:
“Because [of the] sanctity of the symbol and the sanctity of this event, [the exhumation] should not be permitted to be in front of the media.”
Many Palestinians believe that Arafat was killed by the Israeli government in order to neutralize the PAlestinian independence movement and stop the emergence of a Palestinians State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since Arafat’s death the West Bank has been run by his successor, Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in a bloody coup in 2007
There has also been speculation that Arafat was suffering from HIV or cancer at the time of his death.
Arafat, who led the Palestine Liberation Organisation for 35 years and became the first president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996, fell violently ill in October 2004 inside the Mukata.
A reburial ceremony, with full military honours, is expected to take place later on Tuesday.