Eight years after his death, it remains a mystery exactly what killed the longtime Palestinian leader. Tests conducted in Paris found no obvious traces of poison in Arafat’s system.
Rumors abound about what might have killed him – cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, even allegations that he was infected with HIV.
Tests have revealed that Arafat’s final personal belongings – his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic keffiyeh – contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element.
Those personal effects, which were analysed at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, were variously stained with Arafat’s blood, sweat, saliva and urine. The tests carried out on those samples suggested that there was a high level of polonium inside his body when he died.
The findings have led Suha Arafat, his widow, to ask the Palestinian Authority to exhume her late husband’s body from its grave in Ramallah.