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Forensic investigators have taken samples from the body of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat today after speculation that he may not have died from a stroke, but could have been poisoned by Israel.
ITV News' Middle East Correspondent John Ray reports:
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it depends on a number of factors including:
- How the body has been buried
- What condition it was in when it entered the ground
- How expensive the coffin was
- Whether modern embalming techniques were used
He said: "I think it is certainly possible that they could find residual traces of radioactive material," but added it was doubtful they would find solid evidence of poisoning if only bones remain.
After the body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was exhumed, it was taken to a nearby mosque so that Palestinian doctors could take samples from his bones, local officials told the Associated Press.
The samples will then be handed over to French, Swiss and Russian experts who have flown in for the exhumation and will examine them in their home countries.
Earlier, samples were also taken from Mr Arafat's bedroom, office and personal belongings, the report added.
Palestinian officials say the remains of former leader Yasser Arafat have been exhumed over allegations that he was poisoned, the Associated Press reported.
Mr Arafat died in November 2004 in a French military hospital, a month after he suddenly fell ill.
He was later buried at a limestone mausoleum in Ramallah.
Allegations of foul play immediately surfaced, with many Palestinians pointing the finger at Israel, but it has denied any wrongdoing.
The body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is set to be exhumed today over allegations that he was poisoned.
Back in August, French magistrates opened a murder inquiry into Mr Arafat's death in Paris after a Swiss institute said it had discovered high levels of radioactive polonium on his clothing, which was supplied by his widow, Suha.
Mr Arafat died aged 75 in 2004 after a short, mysterious illness. No autopsy was carried out at the time - at the request of his wife - and the French doctors who treated him said they were unable to determine cause of death.
Allegations of foul play immediately surfaced, with many locals pointing the finger at Israel, but it has denied any wrongdoing.
Experts from Switzerland, France, Russia and the Palestinian territories will take part in the exhumation, which will take place behind blue sheeting that has been carefully erected around his limestone mausoleum in Ramallah.
Latest ITV News reports
Whatever secrets might be revealed from the grave of Yasser Arafat, they are unlikely to answer the questions: who or what killed him.