Originally published on December 4, 2013
A French report released on Tuesday concluded that former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of natural causes, ruling out the possibility he died from poisoning.
French investigators attributed some radioactivity to the presence of radon gas in the tomb, while scientists at Lausanne University Hospital's Institute of Radiation Physics in Switzerland said that Arafat's body had contaminated the immediate environment. The Swiss team published a 108-page report last month.
However, both studies found similar levels of polonium 210 in Arafat's body, which was 18 times higher than usual.
The Swiss experts previously claimed that Arafat's underwear registered 180 millibecquerels of polonium, compared with 6.7 millibecquerels from a control sample. They also found 54 millibecquerels of polonium on his toothbrush.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Araft's widow Suha Arafat said that her late husband was "in very, very good health" before he suddenly became ill after a meal in 2004, suffering from vomiting and stomach pains.
Symptoms of radiation poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, hair loss, skin discoloration and a low white blood cell count.
Many Palestinians believed that Arafat, the first president of the Palestinian Authority, was assassinated by Israeli authorities. He died in Paris in 2004 and no autopsy was carried out at that time. The official cause of death was a massive stroke, even though doctors failed to determine the origin of the illness.
Arafat's death recaptured media attention after Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based media outlet, published investigative reports after sending the late leader's hospital clothes the Swiss institute for analysis.
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