Excavation starts at Yasser Arafat’s tomb

Ramallah (Palestine), Nov 17: The excavation has started at the tomb of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the exhumation of his remains, Palestinian sources said Saturday.

French and Swiss experts are overseeing the work in Arafat’s grave in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The investigation aims at verifying whether his death at a French hospital near Paris in 2004 occurred due to poison, Xinhua reported.

The excavation would last a few days before the experts are able to take samples from Arafat’s remains due to the complicated design of the tomb, the sources said.

The investigators include French prosecutors, as Arafat’s widow Suha had filed a civil complaint in a French court earlier this year seeking investigation into her husband’s death.

She called for the late Palestinian leader’s body to be exhumed after scientists in Switzerland found elevated traces of radioactive polonium−210 on clothing he allegedly wore before his death in 2004.

Polonium−210, if ingested, proves lethal in extremely small doses. Less than one gram (0.04 ounces) of the silver powder is sufficient to kill.

IANS