Palestinian officials say Israel is "the first ... and only suspect" in the death of Yasser Arafat after a scientific report revealed the leader's remains contained high levels of the radioactive substance Polonium.
The head of the Palestinian committee set up to investigate Arafat's death said a Swiss investigation reveals: "Yasser Arafat was killed, and that Israel had killed Yasser Arafat." (Via BBC)
The revered Palestinian leader died unexpectedly after suddenly falling ill in 2004. Officials at the time had concerns Arafat may have been assasinated, but did not conduct an investigation before his burial. (Via Al Jazeera)
But last year, his body was exhumed after tests of his belongings indicated he may have been poisoned. About 60 samples were split between French, Swiss, and Russian scientific teams.
A 108-page report compiled by the Swiss research team found " ... more than 18-times the normal level of polonium-210 [present] in samples of Arafat's remains ... " (Via The Telegraph)
Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive and toxic element that can be fatal if a significant dose is ingested.
It is the same substance that was used to killed a former Russian spy in 2006 after he revealed widespread corruption throughout the Russian government. (Via The New York Times)
But while the Swiss team acknowledge the abnormal presence of Polonium-210 in Arafat's remains, they say it only quote "moderately supports" a hypothesis that he was poisoned.
"Was polonium the cause of the death for certain? The answer is no, we cannot show categorically that hypothesis that the poisoning caused was this or that." (Via BBC)
The Israeli government has denied all claims they were responsible for Arafat's death, calling the Palestinians' assertion quote "more soap opera than science." The Russian research team did not find significant amounts of Polonium-210 in Arafat's remains. He died at age 75. (Via Businesweek)