Palestinian authorities will have to wait a few months before learning whether the late Yasser Arafat was indeed poisoned, chief investigator Tawfik Tirawi said Tuesday.
Authorities on Tuesday exhumed the leader’s body and transferred bone samples to Russian, French and Swiss experts, who are expected to prove or disprove Palestinian claims that Arafat was fatally poisoned with polonium.
The foreign experts will analyze the bone material in their respective countries before delivering a conclusive verdict.
An official investigation into Arafat’s death was launched after the Al Jazeera news network reported last summer the discovery of polonium-210 in some of Arafat’s personal belongings, including a comb, toothbrush and the leader’s trademark headdress.
Palestinian authorities have several times implicated Israel in Arafat’s death. Tel Aviv has denied those accusations.
Tuesday’s exhumation was closed to the press, with the exception of a wreath-laying ceremony at the leader’s mausoleum.
Arafat, the founder and first president of the Palestinian National Authority, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his negotiations with Israel. He died in November 2004 near Paris.