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Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat’s Body To Be Exhumed Tuesday

Getty Images File Photo

Ramallah, West Bank (WIBX) – Amid controversy and allegations that the late Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned, authorities are announcing that his body will be exhumed on Tuesday.

For years there have been rumors that Arafat’s death in 2004 was murder, the result of poisoning by agents acting on behalf of Israel.  It is thought that the leader may have been intentionally exposed to lethal amounts of the radioactive element Polonium.

An international team of forensic analysts will examine his remains to determine if there are any traces of Polonium present in his system.

Some have asserted that the element, discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie and named for their native Poland, was brought into the presidential compound where Arafat spent the last two years of his life.  The metal-like element is highly radioactive, and therefore toxic to living organisms.  If it were present, even in a small amount, within Arafat’s living space, the exposure would have been enough to kill him.  At this time, however, that is all speculation.

Palestinian Press Office Handout via Getty Images

His body is currently encased in a limestone and glass mausoleum at the Muqata, where mourners have come to pay their respects in the eight years since his death.  Officials hope that the testing will put rumors of foul play to rest.  No one knows for certain what will happen if the rumors prove to be true, although it is not expected that such a disclosure would bode well for tensions in the Middle East.

Despite the controversy surrounding his life many continue to mourn his passing and pay homage to the leader in various ways, from visiting his tomb to tattooing his likeness on their bodies.

Marco Di Lauro, Getty Images

Following the investigation Arafat’s body will be ceremoniously reburied in Ramallah.  The results of the autopsy are not expected for a few months.

 

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