Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/27/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Some believe that Palestinian leader was murdered after trace evidence discovered on personal effects

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who died eight years ago at the age of 75, is believed by some to have been murdered. At the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, his body was exhumed, tissue samples were removed and tests for deadly polonium poisoning are now being conducted.

French authorities opened a murder inquiry into his death this year after high levels of polonium-210 were detected on Yasser Arafat's toothbrush, clothing and his keffiyeh, the trademark black-and-white headscarf he frequently wore.

French authorities opened a murder inquiry into his death this year after high levels of polonium-210 were detected on Yasser Arafat's toothbrush, clothing and his keffiyeh, the trademark black-and-white headscarf he frequently wore.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/27/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Yasser Arafat, polonium poisoning, autopsy, inquest Palestinian


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Arafat's body was reburied earlier this week. Polonium is a toxic, radioactive element found on some of his personal belongings earlier this year.

The most potent symbol of Palestinian opposition to Israel, Arafat first led the Palestine Liberation Organization, which carried out attacks against Israeli targets. He later acted as the head of the Palestinian Authority, which currently runs the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority says it is convinced that Israel was behind any poisoning of Arafat. Israel has declined to comment.

French authorities opened a murder inquiry into his death this year after high levels of polonium-210 were detected on Arafat's toothbrush, clothing and his keffiyeh, the trademark black-and-white headscarf he frequently wore. France opened the investigation partly because Arafat died there in 2004.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas approved the exhumation from Arafat's mausoleum in the Palestinian presidential compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

François Bochud, director of the Swiss institute that carried out the tests says that the presence of high levels of polonium-210 on his belongings does not mean Arafat was poisoned.

Some details in Arafat's medical records are not consistent with polonium poisoning, he explained, and "the only way to resolve this anomaly would be by testing the body."

According to Tawfiq Tirawi, head of a Palestinian investigation committee, experts retrieved the samples from Arafat's body without disturbing the whole of him so officials would not have to do a military reburial as was planned.

Forensic experts from Switzerland and Russia have also taken their own samples for independent analysis, Tirawi said.

Dying at a Paris military hospital after he suffered a brain hemorrhage and slipped into a coma, Palestinian officials say that Arafat had a blood disorder coupled with digestive problems.

Arafat's nephew claimed that medical records showed no cause of death. Nasser al-Kidwa, who was the Palestinian observer to the United Nations, said toxicology tests showed "no known poison.".

"The suspicion that he was killed, that he was deliberately murdered, has been there all along and most Palestinians believe that," Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's executive committee says. "I personally believed it because I was with him; I saw him; I saw the transformation and it certainly was unnatural."

Ashrawi said she had spoken with Arafat's doctors, who told her that they could not rule out the possibility that he had been poisoned.

"But we didn't have any kind of thread, any kind of evidence," she told CNN in July.

Only a few countries, including the United States, Israel and Russia, have stocks of polonium-210, a fact that would limit the list of possible suspects.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Middle East

Palestinian Christians prevented from Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem since 1967 Watch

Image of Israel issues some permits to both Christians and Muslims during religious holidays, but this can be a lengthy and bureaucratic process. Permits are usually issued to older, married Palestinians.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Palestinian Christians feel the sting of segregation acutely during Holy Week. Strict, Israeli restrictions on movement prevents their access to holy sites in nearby Jerusalem. Many holy sites have remained out of reach in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since ... continue reading


BIGGEST IN THE WORLD: Saudi Arabia determined to build world's tallest building Watch

Image of High winds will also be a problem for this gargantuan building, so the tower will change shape regularly to counter it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Not be outdone, Saudi Arabia is vowing to build the world's tallest building. Said structure, called the Kingdom Tower, heads into construction next week. AT its height, 3,280 feet, it will eventually dwarf Dubai's Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,716 feet, the ... continue reading


AL-QAEDA ALIVE: 'We must eliminate the cross ... The bearer of the cross is America!' Watch

Image of  In the video, the nefarious

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"This is quite an extraordinary video," terrorist experts Paul Cruickshank says. There's another word for it: absolutely horrifying. In the video, the nefarious "crown prince" of al-Qaeda, Nasir al-Wuhayshi is seen addressing a group of 100 like-minded ... continue reading


Suffering, dying in silence: Syrian Christians face arduous holy week Watch

Image of Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, with many suffering and dying in silence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The assassination of Dutch Jesuit Fr. Frans van der Lugt, shot to death by an unknown assailant at his base in Homs, Syria on April 7 has cast a pall for the faithful here. Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus says that Syrian Christians face a ... continue reading


Asia Bibi remains in prison, reluctant officials hide behind bureaucracy Watch

Image of Asia Bibi remains in prison, judges unwilling to take up her case for fear of violence.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani woman facing death for blasphemy in Pakistan still sits in a women's prison her case held up by deliberate delays and a reluctance of judges and others to hear her case. Officials are afraid that they will become targets of Islamic ... continue reading


Dutch priest beaten, killed at his Syrian monastery Watch

Image of Father Frans van der Lugt was described as a man of great courage who

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dutch Jesuit priest, 75-year-old Frans van der Lugt was beaten and shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his monastery in Homs, Syria this week, the Vatican said. He had been living in Syria since the early Seventies. He's being described as man of great courage ... continue reading


Tunisian government strives to root out Islamist influence from Mosques Watch

Image of Tunisia's newly elected government, recognizing that one of the nation's chief sources of revenue is tourism, has wasted little time in quelling extremist factions there.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Tunisian authorities, along with the Islamist party Ennahda had clashed on several levels for any months. The conflict was felt on all strata of Tunisian society. Violence roiled in the streets, to the universities, in places of worship and private homes. ... continue reading


Syrian refugees in Lebanon passes one million mark Watch

Image of U.N. staff in Lebanon register 2,500 new Syrian refugees every day, the UNHCR said.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As Syria's devastating Civil War drags into its fourth year without an end in sight, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has officially passed the one million mark, the United Nations' refugee agency says. Syrian refugees now make up almost a quarter of ... continue reading


Meet Catholic Online's new Middle East correspondent Watch

Image of Kaci Racelma received his Bachelor of English literature in 1996. He has worked in the daily Algerian newspaper la Nouvelle République since 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Journalist Kaci Racelma has joined the Catholic Online family as a much needed and vaunted Middle East correspondent to our international news desk. We welcome his wealth of experience in relaying breaking stories in this complex part of the world.  LOS ... continue reading


Authorities break up kiddie sex abuse ring, 17-year-old pimp and several men arrested Watch

Image of Several hundred women in Israel - many of them foreigners - are trafficked within the country annually for commercial sexual exploitation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tel Aviv Police have arrested seven men in connection with a child molestation ring. An undercover investigation began after one of the purported victims came forward and told them about a number of girls who had sex with a group of adults in exchange for ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter