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Swiss expert insists Arafat poisoning likely despite France finding
Published Thursday 05/12/2013 (updated) 07/12/2013 09:59
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Rumours and speculation have surrounded Yasser Arafat's death since
his 2004 death at a military hospital near Paris (AFP/File Jamal Aruri)
LAUSANNE (AFP) - A French report ruling out poisoning in Yasser Arafat's 2004 death has a glaring inconsistency, the co-author of a Swiss probe said Thursday, sticking by his team's conclusion that the Palestinian leader was likely killed.

"Our data lean more towards the thesis of poisoning than in the opposite direction," Professor Francois Bochud, head of the Lausanne Institute of Applied Radiophysics, told AFP.

Bochud is the co-author of a report published last month that said the high levels of polonium - a rare and highly radioactive element - found in Arafat's remains and personal effects indicated third party involvement in his death.

An as-yet unpublished French report however rules out poisoning, a source close to the probe said this week, with an argument that the naturally occurring radioactive element radon, found in the ground, explained the high polonium levels.

Bochud, who has read the French report, stressed that the 107-page Swiss study had presented numerous arguments against that theory, the most compelling being that other remains exhumed from the same cemetery did not contain excessive levels of polonium.

Both the Swiss and the French experts thoroughly cleaned Arafat's bones to remove external contamination before carrying out their measurements, and proceeded to find identical levels of polonium, he pointed out.

"I have a hard time understanding why they, on one side say they have thoroughly cleaned the bones and eliminated contaminations, and at the same time explain their measurements with the very contamination they supposedly eliminated," he said.

"It's a bit difficult to follow their reasoning," he added.

The circumstances of Arafat's death aged 75 at a military hospital near Paris in November 2004 after a sudden deterioration in his health have long been mired in rumor and speculation.

France opened a formal murder inquiry in August 2012, a month after an documentary by the Al-Jazeera television network linked Arafat's death to polonium poisoning.

Some 60 samples were taken from his remains in November 2012 and divided between Swiss and Russian investigators and a French team carrying out a probe at his widow's request.

Many Palestinians believe he was poisoned by Israel - a claim repeatedly denied by the latter.
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1 ) Arnold / Canada
05/12/2013 21:07
What is taking the Russian team so long to come out with their report. In the meantime let's watch France and Switzerland beef with one another.

2 ) Colin Wright / USA
05/12/2013 22:46
' "It's a bit difficult to follow their reasoning," he added.' Consulting their bank balances might help to illuminate matters. They are French, after all.

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
05/12/2013 22:47
To Arnold #1: 'What is taking the Russian team so long to come out with their report. ' Their price tag is higher than the French price tag.

4 ) hesse / usa
05/12/2013 23:24
if suha would have allowed for an autopsy instead of being so secretive, we may have been clear by now on everything

5 ) Julie / USA
05/12/2013 23:32
it was only after izrael/netanyahu spoke to france that france then held up the iran nuclear deal, initially. so this so-called report is very highly suspicious. smells rotten, like izrael again pressured france so france manipulated their report. the swiss expert makes a solid point how france claims contamination from soil after previously claiming they eliminated all contaminants. maybe they didn't eliminate all, but that means france is incompetent. either way, this report can't be trusted.

6 ) Jihane / Palestine/France
06/12/2013 00:23
What has taken Arnold so long to realize that the Russian team has already come out with their report ? Findings 'inconclusive'. I don't trust the French report. Too many things have been weird in this case. The French hospital destroyed various samplets 'by mistake'.

7 ) shirley / australia
06/12/2013 01:14
there is nothing to beef about the french report narrow with no expert on it and there agument aboutr environmental does not stand up otherwise others would have got sick as arrafat did not leave xompound and 18 times now means 30 times at time of death highly unlikely by environment and pollounium can be traced back to its source and makes you sick quick and soil samples were taken long ago that proved no envirinmental contamination english expert fully backs swiss

8 ) southparkbear / usa
06/12/2013 07:45
swiss is after the PA & suha bank accounts

9 ) Swiss Cheeze is known for / its
06/12/2013 16:23
MANY HOLES!

10 ) Robby / USA
06/12/2013 17:19
Despite science, lack of empirical evidence and lack of motive - anyone who wants to believe he was murdered will, and anyone who wants to believe Israel killed him will.

11 ) Outlier / USA
06/12/2013 18:40
Someone is right and someone is wrong on this matter, which means one country's scientists likely will be embarrassed when - and if - a definitive determination is made.

12 ) ian / australia
07/12/2013 00:24
' "It's a bit difficult to follow their reasoning," he added.' I'm going with the Swiss guy...anyone who watched the strange decline and death of Abu Ammar could see there was nothing "natural" about it.
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