The body of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will be exhumed on Tuesday as part of a renewed probe into his death, the Palestinian authorities said.
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.
The new investigation by French authorities was prompted earlier this year following the detection of radioactive polonium-210 on Arafat’s personal effects provided by his wife.
Polonium was allegedly used to murder Alexander Litvinenko, a defector from KGB’s successor FSB who died in London in 2006. Two of his ex-colleagues have been implicated in the murder, though both denied the charges, and the investigation is still ongoing.
Russian experts will be part of an international team, which also includes scientists from France and Switzerland, tasked with finding new facts that could reveal the real 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.
Arafat’s body will be reburied the same day with military honors.
Arafat’s death still remains a mystery as the source of an illness that quickly killed him has never been clear.
Many Arabs believe he was poisoned by Israelis, while Tel Aviv has vehemently denied any involvement in his death.