Arafat polonium indicates "third party involvement" say Swiss experts

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Swiss scientists have told a news conference that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat did have radioactive polonium in his body.

But although they acknowledge that he could have been poisoned, the experts have not confirmed that this was what killed the 75-year-old in 2004. And they have not attributed blame, either.

In Gaza, one man interviewed on the street pointed to differences between Arafat and other Palestinian political leaders.

“Some say Mohamed Dahlan was behind the poisoning, others say Mahmoud Abbas. It is still unclear,” he said.

But ultimately, he blamed Israel.

“We blame the occupation authorities who imposed a siege on him. And the occupation had agents everywhere and it is sure that they sent the poison that was placed in his food, via a collaborator.”

Arafat’s widow believes her husband was assassinated but the experts are cautious.

At the news conference, they said the high levels of polonium found did indicate third party involvement. But they could not show categorically that polonium poisoning was the cause of death.

The Israeli government has denied any role in Arafat’s death, officially caused by a massive stroke. A foreign ministry spokesman said: “This is more soap opera than science”.

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