Sample collected from Yasser Arafat’s remains as part of inquiry

The remains of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have now been exhumed as an inquiry looks into whether the leader was poisoned prior to his death in 2004.

Samples from the remains will go to Swiss, French and Russian experts, who will now search for traces of radioactive polonium-210, which one Swiss scientist reports to have found on Arafat’s belongings after he died, reports BBC News.

Though Arafat is thought to have died of a stroke at age 75, many Palestinians believe he was poisoned by Israel. For its part, Israel has denied these accusations and they have not been backed up by any of the doctors who treated Arafat in his final days.

The decision to exhume Arafat’s remains was partially due to the insistence of his widow, Suha Arafat, who told Al Jazeera: “I want the world to know the truth about the assassination of Yasser Arafat.”

The remains were taken from a mausoleum in the West Bank city of Ramallah to a mosque. Each of the experts will examine their sample in their own country, said Palestinian officials.

Should the officials find poison in the remains, Tawfiq Tirawi, head of the commission investigating, said they will seek international justice through the World Court in The Hague. “If it is proved that Arafat was poisoned, we will go to the international court,” Tirawi said.

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