Arafat’s remains to be exhumed Nov. 26

RAMALLAH, West Bank — The remains of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will be exhumed Nov. 26, a Western diplomat said Monday, as investigators began determining how best to dig up the grave and extract samples.

A Swiss team, one of two groups set to conduct parallel probes into Arafat’s 2004 death, arrived in the West Bank and spent an hour inspecting the grave, located in a mausoleum outside Palestinian government headquarters in Ramallah. The Western diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Tawfik Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian committee investigating the death, said Monday’s visit was meant “to check the place” ahead of the exhumation. The Swiss team is expected to return to the grave at the end of the month with the French investigators to exhume the body, and will be allowed only one chance to withdraw samples from the remains.

The two teams are acting separately on behalf of Arafat’s widow Suha Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, who each had misgivings about the other’s investigation. Suha Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have a history of rocky relations, and Palestinian officials have complained that they felt Suha Arafat was forcing an investigation on them.

The new probes into Arafat’s death come after a Swiss lab recently discovered traces of polonium-210, a deadly radioactive isotope, on clothes said to be his, which sparked new accusations that he was poisoned.

Arafat’s death in a French hospital in November 2004 has remained a mystery for many. While the immediate cause of death was a stroke, the underlying source of an illness he suffered in his final weeks has never been clear, leading to persistent, unproven conspiracy theories that he had cancer, AIDS or was poisoned.

Many in the Arab world believe Arafat, the face of the Palestinian independence struggle for four decades, was killed by Israel. Israel, which saw Arafat as an obstacle to peace, vehemently denies the charge.

It is not clear whether the exhumation will solve the mystery. Polonium-210 is known to rapidly decompose, and experts are divided over whether any remaining samples will be sufficient for testing.

More in Local News

Spikes put end to ride from Seattle to Everett in stolen car

Two men were taken into custody at the bottom of Marine View Drive off I-5.

Two more suspects identified in shooting death of casino winner

The two, who have ties to Everett, Mount Vernon and Bellingham, remain at large.

Water to be shut off for some homes, districts next week

The pipe closing will affect mainly the Snohomish and Monroe areas.

Section of W. Marine View Drive will be closed Saturday

A footbridge is being torn down between Everett Ave. and the Naval Station entrance.

Faith Calendar for Feb. 24 to March 10, 2018

EVENTS Purim banquet: Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County holds a “Purim… Continue reading

Everett council defers decision on methadone clinic zoning

Councilmembers asked to see more information on potential options in the weeks ahead.

Front Porch

A main strip of Everett’s waterfront… Continue reading

House passes ban on bump-fire stocks

If the Senate approves, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign it into law.

Man charged with rape, manslaughter of teen dying from overdose

Brian Roberto Varela’s arraignment is scheduled for Monday.

Most Read