Wednesday, August 29, 2012

France opens enquiry into claims of Arafat poisoning

Yasser Arafat's
French prosecutors have opened a murder enquiry into Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's 2004 death near Paris following claims he may have died of polonium poisoning, sources told AFP Tuesday.

The probe comes after Arafat's family launched legal action in France last month following reports the veteran Palestinian leader may have died from radioactive polonium.

Arafat's widow Suha and his daughter Zawra lodged a murder complaint on July 31 in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. Arafat died at age 75 at a military hospital near Paris in 2004....

At the time of Arafat's death, Palestinian officials alleged he had been poisoned by long-time foe Israel, but an inconclusive Palestinian investigation in 2005 ruled out poisoning, as well as cancer and AIDS.

Israel has consistently denied the allegations, accusing Suha Arafat and Palestinian officials of covering up the real reasons for the death of the former leader, who led the struggle for Palestinian statehood for nearly four decades.

Following the news of a French enquiry, Israel said it "does not feel this investigation is of any concern to it despite all the hare-brained allegations made against us," foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

"I hope this enquiry throws light on every aspect of this affair," he added.  -- Pauline Talagrand, AFP


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