West Bank: In what could provide significant clues to a yet unsolved political mystery involving the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the late icon’s tomb was excavated on Tuesday and after the tests uncermoniously buried.
An international team of scientists involving specialists from Russia, Switzerland and France were present at the site along with Tawfiq Tirawi - the head of the Palestinian committee investigating Arafat's death.
The entire process of exhumation was carried out in a strict secrecy with Tawfiq Tirawi not allowing any journalist to be presentat the spot, reported BBC.
The remains were taken from Arafat's mausoleum and moved to a mosque near the tomb in the Palestinian presidency's Ramallah headquarters. There the Palestinian doctors would collect samples from the bones.
The international experts were to take samples of Arafat’s remains which would then be tested for the presence of a poisonous radioactive substance called Polonium- 210.
The tests could take months, the Palestinian investigators had said.
After the international specials having collected the samples, it was said that the iconic Palestinian leader’s remains will be reburied with full military honours.
But just six hours after his exhumation, Arafat was reburied without any military honours. The ceremonies was reportedly cancelled as it was decided that samples removed from the coffin did not require a reburial.
The Palestinian authorities’ decision to exhume Arafat’s remains and start an investigation came when earlier this year, Swiss experts tested Arafat's personal belongings provided his widow Suha, and detected Polonium 210 - a lethal radioactive substance.
Arafat, who led the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for 35 years, died in November 2004, a month after suddenly falling ill, and Palestinian officials have insisted he was poisoned by Israel but Tel Aviv has denied such allegations.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 09:46