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Arafat's death investigation proves difficult: researchers

posted 7 Jul 2012, 01:00 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 7 Jul 2012, 01:00 ]

Switzerland-Arafat/Death Investigation -- Arafat's death investigation proves difficult: researchers

CCTV BEIJING - The investigation into death of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (19292004) has proven to be difficult due to waned radioactivity of polonium-210 in his body, researchers with the Institute of Radiation Physics said during an interview with China Central Television in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday.

A year and a half ago, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) established a special committee to investigate the death of Arafat, but due to the lack of modern facilities and equipment, the investigation came out with quite limited results.

Chairman of the committee, Tawfiq Terawi, said a report from Al-Jazeera showed that test results from the lab of the Institute of Radiation Physics proved that there existed a high level of polonium-210 in Arafat's personal belongings. However, it only indicated a relatively high possibility of polonium-210 in Arafat's body, according to Francois Bochud, director of the Institute of Radiation Physics.

"If asked to go to Palestine, we will take with us detecting instruments sensitive to alpha radiation, which are capable of giving a test before we touch the body and can allow us to better record the situation then," Bochud said.

Dr. Pascal Froidevaux, the principal investigator of the test, said the body absorbs only about ten percent of the total intake of polonium-210, the radioactivity of which will decrease to half of the original level every 138 days.

"Now, there is relatively little radioactivity left in his body, which has gradually waned to one out of a million. Even if we can test the body, it's still hard to prove Arafat was once poisoned. The investigation will prove to be very difficult. If Arafat was indeed poisoned to death, we are not sure enough to detect the high radioactivity. I'd say it's too late," Dr. Froidevaux said.

Although eight years has passed since Arafat's death, he is still regarded as a national hero. Both Palestinian officials and the public support the reopening of the investigation into the death of their late leader.

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