Yasser Arafat to be exhumed Tuesday

    9:00 AM, Nov 26, 2012   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CBS) - Longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died in 2004. At the time, his doctors in France said they could not establish a cause of death. There have been conspiracy theories ever since. Now they are opening his grave to look for answers.

    For the past eight years Yasser Arafat has been a slowly fading image in the Palestinian territories. Tomorrow, he will become the focus of attention and a symbol of what his people see as yet another crime against them by the Israelis.

    His body will be exhumed and samples taken to determine if he was poisoned by Polonium 210, a radioactive isotope that causes certain death. Palestinian official Mahmoud Labadi is in no doubt Arafat was the victim of foul play. Labadi says, "This exhumation reveals the facts and reveals that Arafat's death was not a natural death."

    Arafat died in a Paris hospital almost exactly eight years ago after falling ill. His wife claimed he was a victim of Polonium which can only be produced in lethal quantities by a State-run laboratory.

    A Swiss lab found what were described as "significant traces" of the radioactive substance on Arafat's underwear and toothbrush.

    His cement-covered mausoleum has been screened from public view. Three separate samples will be taken from Arafat's body by forensic teams from Switzerland, Russia, and France. The results of the investigation may not be known for months.

    Not everyone is in favor of the exhumation. Nasser al-Qudwah, President, Yasser Arafat Foundation says, "We hope people can show respect to the leader's remains, and let him rest in peace. But it does not mean that do not care about the reason of his death. We are sure that he was assassinated."

    Palestinians are convinced Israel is the culprit. What they really want to know is who helped them.

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