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Arafat Poisoning Probe: Remains Tested
Samples have been taken from Yasser Arafat's remains by scientists investigating claims he was poisoned with polonium.
The probe comes after allegations he was killed by Israeli agents.
Tawfiq al Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian investigation committee, said: "We have evidence which suggests he was poisoned by Israelis. I consider this a painful necessity. It is necessary to find the truth in the death of President Yasser Arafat".
Mr Arafat, the revered and reviled leader of Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), died suddenly in 2004.
He was flown to Paris for treatment before he died and doctors were unable to diagnose the cause of his death. His wife, Suha, refused to allow a post-mortem examination.
An investigation by al Jazeera TV claimed to have found "elevated levels of the substance in Mr Arafat's final personal effects", according to its website.
The Israeli government has denied any involvement in his death, and refused to comment.
Mr Arafat was interred in the Mukataa, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, in a marble-floored mausoleum.
His remains were uncovered early on Tuesday, beneath large blue sheets of tarpaulin. A military reburial ceremony was cancelled because scientists were able to do their work without exhuming the body.
Investigators from Switzerland, France and Russia will take samples back to their laboratories to test for unnatural levels of polonium, the radioactive material allegedly used in the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.
Mr Arafat's comb, his toothbrush and his iconic kaffiyeh (traditional Arab headdress) were examined earlier this year and tested for Polonium-210 by the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Experts found unusually high levels of the substance.
The results of new tests are likely to be released in four months. If his death turns out to have been the work of assassins, the consequences are likely to be explosive.
Israel would be blamed. The Jewish state will be accused of killing the man who, along with Yitzhak Rabin, ushered in the Oslo Peace Process.
This lead to the creation of the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s but collapsed after the eruption of the Second Intifada in 2000.
Peace talks continued through the violence but got nowhere as the death toll of Palestinians and Israelis climbed.
But Israel has continued with its campaign to expand its territory into the Occupied West Bank of the Jordan River by building Jewish settlements.
These have caused intense anger among Palestinians who, many believe, may be on the verge of a third Intifada which could be ignited if evidence emerges Mr Arafat was murdered.