Russian specialists have arrived in the West Bank to take part in the exhumation of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to establish the reasons for his death eight years ago, a source in the city of Ramallah told RIA Novosti on Monday.
A new probe by French authorities was prompted earlier this year following the detection of radioactive polonium-210 on Arafat’s personal effects provided by his wife.
The Palestinian authorities said earlier Arafat’s body will be exhumed on Tuesday.
Three Russian experts invited by the Palestinian National Administration (PNA) will be part of an international team, which also includes specialists from France and Switzerland. They will be tasked with finding new facts that could reveal the true reasons behind Arafat’s death.
The specialists will take samples from Arafat’s remains and bring them to their respective countries to be tested for polonium-210 or other lethal substances. The tests could take months, the Palestinian investigators said on Saturday.
The former Palestinian leader’s body will be reburied the same day with military honors.
Arafat, who led the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for 35 years, died in Paris in November 2004 after suddenly falling ill. His death has been attributed, alternatively, to either illness or poisoning. Palestinians have repeatedly claimed he could have been poisoned by Israelis, while Tel Aviv has vehemently denied any involvement in his death.