Arafat's body exhumed to test poisoning theory
28 November 2012
Forensic experts exhumed the body of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank, seeking to determine if he was murdered by Israeli agents using the hard-to-trace radioactive poison, polonium.
Now, the wait for results begins – the process will take at least three months. Suspicions that Israel poisoned him are widespread, and the results will put to rest eight years of questions about his rapid health deterioration and subsequent death. The conspiracy theories surrounding his death have never been laid to rest, and are expected to continue even if the test results are negative.
Arafat's body was uncovered in its grave and samples were removed without having to lift the corpse from the ground. As a result, the planned reburial ceremony with full military honours was called off.
The tomb was resealed in hours and wreaths were placed by Palestinian leaders including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
An international team of scientists involving specialists from Russia, Switzerland and France were present at the site along with Tawfiq Tirawi - the head of the Palestinian committee investigating Arafat's death.
"The state of the body was exactly what you would expect to find for someone who has been buried for eight years. There was nothing out of the ordinary," Health Minister Hani Abdeen told a news conference.