Yasser Arafat's body may be exhumed to see if he was poisoned
Arafat's widow says his body should be examined to determine if he was murdered
The body of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may be exhumed to
investigate claims that he was assassinated with the radioactive
substance polonium. Arafat, who died in 2004 from a mystery illness, was
long rumored to have been murdered at the hands of the Israeli spy
Yasser Arafat's mysterious death came four years into a Palestinian uprising, after talks with Israel had failed to lead to a Palestinian state.
According to a recent investigation, a urine stain on Arafat's underwear had traces of Polonium-210, the highly radioactive substance which killed Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko six years ago.
Those who are exposed to a lethal dose of Polonium, usually by orally ingesting it, die within two to three months. There are no serious symptoms after being exposed, but nausea and fatigue sets in after a week.
A highly radioactive element, Polonium is used, among other things, to power spacecraft. Marie Curie discovered it in 1898, and her daughter Irene was among the first people it killed: She died of leukemia several years after an accidental polonium exposure in her laboratory.
At least two people connected with Israel's nuclear program also reportedly died after exposure to the element, according to the limited literature on the subject.
A single microgram of Polonium, the size of a spec of dust is enough to kill someone, due to its slowly-excreted alpha particles which attack the body's organs. Polonium affects the liver, kidneys, spleen, bone marrow, and gastrointestinal tract.
Polonium poisoning is a slow, painful death as it takes to accumulate dangerous internal exposures. Victims usually lose hair, and the lining of the gastrointestinal system is destroyed. There is severe diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, and loss of fluids and disturbance of electrolyte balance.
There had been previous theories that Arafat, who died in a Paris hospital in November of 2004, had contracted cancer, cirrhosis or even HIV.
The Institute de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, proved that Arafat's underwear registered a level of 180 millibecquerels of Polonium-210, more than 20 times the dose to kill an average human being.
Dr. Francois Bochod with the institute said the only way to confirm the findings would be to exhume Arafat's body to test it for polonium-210.
"But we have to do it quite fast because polonium is decaying, so if we wait too long, for sure, any possible proof will disappear," he told Al Jazeera.
Arafat led the Palestinian Liberation Organization's fight against Israel from the 1960s but signed a peace agreement with the Jewish state in 1993 establishing Palestinian self-rule areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
His mysterious death came four years into a Palestinian uprising, after talks with Israel had failed to lead to a Palestinian state.
The doctors who treated Arafat in his final days could not establish the cause of death, refusing to give details of his condition, citing privacy laws, fuelling a host of rumors and theories over the nature of his illness.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Yasser Arafat, Polonium, poisoning, exhumation, assassination
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