Arafat's Widow Alleges 'Criminal Scheme' over Death

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Suha Arafat, widow of former PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, is convinced her husband's death resulted from "a criminal scheme."

She made the remarks to al-Jazeera after lab tests she requested found traces of radioactive Polonium 210 on some of her late husband's personal items, including his keffiyeh (Arab headscarf) and toothbrush.

The Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland, which conducted the tests, said it would need to examine Arafat's remains to determine if polonium caused his death.

Arafat died at the age of 75 in a French hospital in November 2004 a few weeks after becoming ill. His personal physician for 18 years, Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, told a Jordanian website at the time that Arafat had contracted HIV, though he didn't believe that caused his death.

In a similar report in 2007 on Hezbollah's al-Manar television, Ahmad Jibril, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command, said that a senior member of the P.A. delegation told him Arafat died of AIDS, the Palestinian Media Watch reported.

"When Mahmoud Abbas came to Damascus, I asked, "What was found in the [medical] inquiry of the death of brother Arafat?" One [member of the delegation] said, 'Frankly, the French gave us the medical report and the cause of Arafat's death was AIDS,'" Jibril said on al-Manar TV on July 5, 2007.

The same year, the New York Times reported that Arafat died from a stroke.

While Arafat's widow refused to release results of an autopsy after his death, she has now agreed to exhume his remains "to reveal the truth to all the Muslim and Arab world."

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