Palestinians Close Arafat Grave Site to Prepare for Exhumation

The grave of Yasser Arafat in the West Bank town of Ramallah has been closed to the public prior to the exhumation of his remains by foreign medical teams, a Palestinian official said today.

The move comes after an report on Al Jazeera television in July, supported by Arafat’s widow Suha, raised suspicions he may have been poisoned by the radioactive isotope polonium. Arafat, who was chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, died in a French hospital in 2004 at the age of 75 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s successor, subsequently gave permission to exhume the remains.

Palestinian official Tawfiq Tirawi said that Swiss, French, Russian and Egyptian medical experts will take part in the examination. “I can’t confirm a date, but it’s toward the end of this month,” Tirawi said in a phone interview.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fadwa Hodali in Jerusalem at fhodali@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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