Tests performed on former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's personal belongings have revealed that they contained abnormal levels of the radioactive substance polonium, Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday.
Arafat died in a French military hospital on November 11, 2004, following a mysterious illness. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that Arafat may have died of AIDS. Al Jazeera said that a nine month investigation revealed that this was untrue and the Palestinian leader was in good health before he suddenly fell ill in October 2004.
Arafat's widow provided Al Jazeera with his clothing and toothbrush for laboratory testing at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland. “I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids,” Al Jazeera quoted Dr. Francois Bochud, the director of the institute as saying.
According to the report, Russian spy-turned-dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006 under suspicious circumstances, was found to have been poisoned with polonium slipped into his tea.
Arafat suffered similar symptoms to Litvinenko prior to his death - severe diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting, according to the report.
Palestinians and Arabs have charged in the past that Israel poisoned Arafat. Some PA leaders have suggested that former Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan assisted Israel in the poisoning.
The Al Jazeera commissioned study of Arafat's belongings did not reveal any traces of common heavy metals or conventional poisons, so they turned their attention to more obscure elements, discovering the high levels of polonium, according to the report.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report