Experts have been invited to the West Bank to test Yasser Arafat’s remnants for possible poisoning, the chief investigator looking into the 2004 death of the Palestinian leader has said.
Tawfik Tirawi did not give further particulars, but the lab confirmed that it had been invited.
"We are currently studying how to adequately respond to this demand," Darcy Christen, a spokeswoman for the Swiss institute said.
"Meanwhile, our main concern is to guarantee the independence, the credibility and the transparency of any possible involvement on our side."
The publication shadows weeks of indecision on the autopsy issue by officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA), the self-rule government that Arafat established.
Experts found what was characterized as "very small" quantities of polonium, an isotope that is naturally present in the environment. The concern is that there were higher quantities of polonium in Arafat’s underwear and hospital clothing.
Polonium is perhaps best known for triggering the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent turned opponent of the Russian government, in London in 2006. Litvinenko ingested tea laced with the substance.
Francois Bochud, who heads the Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland, told press that his lab examined belongings that Arafat’s widow said were used by Arafat in his final days, as well as others that he hadn’t worn.
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