Experts question Arafat polonium poisoning theory

Some experts have questioned whether Arafat could have died of polonium poisoning, pointing to a brief recovery during his illness which is not consistent with radioactive exposure. They also noted he did not lose all of his hair.

But Professor David Barclay said neither fact was inconsistent with the findings.

Yasser Arafat shortly before he was flown to Paris.
Yasser Arafat shortly before he was flown to Paris. Credit: ABACA ABACA PRESS/ABACA/Press Association Images

Since polonium loses 50% of its radioactivity every four months, the traces in Arafat's corpse would have faded so far as to have become untraceable if the tests had been conducted a couple of years later, Professor Barclay said.

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Arafat 'may have been poisoned'

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned to death in 2004 with radioactive polonium, his widow Suha said after receiving the results of Swiss forensic tests on her husband's corpse.