Arafat body to be tested

The body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is to be exhumed on Tuesday to establish whether he was poisoned, Palestinian officials have confirmed. The tests will attempt to establish the cause of his death in Paris in 2004.

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What is Polonium-210?

The body of the former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will be exhumed on Tuesday to test to see if he was the victim of Polonium-210 poisoning.

Polonium was first discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898. It is a radioactive element that occurs naturally in the earth's crust.

According to scientists from the University of Chicago Polonium-210 is traditionally used to clear dust from camera lenses or photographic film.

It is poisonous if ingested and it's believe that the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko who died in November 2006 was the victim of Polonium-210 poisoning.

Yasser Arafat poisoning investigation timeline

  • 12th October 2004 Yasser Arafat falls ill at his compound. He is flown to a French military hospital for treatment
  • 11th November 2004 He passes away at the age of 75
  • September 2005 The New York Times obtains a copy of his medical records which shows that he died as a result of a stroke caused by an unknown infection
  • July 2012 An investigation by Al Jazeera reveals high traces of the poison polonium in his personal possessions
  • August 2012 French prosecutors launch an investigation after Swiss scientists find traces of radioactive polonium-210 in Yasser Arafat's belongings


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