French Prosecutors Open Probe Into Arafat’s Death

Posted August 28th, 2012 at 2:40 pm (UTC-5)
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French prosecutors have opened a probe into the suspicious death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat eight years ago.

Judicial sources say the probe was launched following a complaint last month from Mr. Arafat's widow, Suha Arafat, that he may have died from polonium poisoning.

The complaint was filed after a Swiss physics institute said it found abnormal traces of polonium, a radioactive substance, on Mr. Arafat's belongings.

Palestinian officials welcomed the decision to open the probe.

Mr. Arafat died at age 75 at a military hospital near Paris in 2004. He had been taken there after falling ill at his compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Doctors who treated him at the hospital said they could not establish a cause of death.

Polonium is a toxic substance that is rarely found outside military and scientific areas. It was used to kill former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.