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Experts dig up Arafat's remains, samples taken

11-27-2012 21:46 BJT Special Report:Arafat’s Remains Exhumed for Posion Tests |

RAMALLAH, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) on Tuesday finalized digging up remains of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, as Russian, Swiss and French experts took samples of the remains to inspect the reason behind his death.

Arafat's tomb was opened early Tuesday morning in the West Bank city of Ramallah amid intensive Palestinian security presence and media coverage, with the presence of foreign inspectors.

Tawfiq Tirawi, chief of the Palestinian Committee to probe circumstances of Arafat's death, told Xinhua that samples were taken without taking the remains out of the tomb.

"Everything has been done as scheduled," said Tirawi, adding that he would brief the media on the details of the exhumation of Arafat's tomb.

A well-informed Palestinian source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua that "the procedures of opening the grave and taking samples of the remains lasted for several hours," adding that a presidential music band played the national Palestinian anthem when the grave was opened.

"Taking parts of the remains was very complicated due to the architectural design of the tomb. The tomb was opened using manual digging tools and the digging was so soft and gentle because the site is holy and it is the grave of the historic leader of the Palestinian people," said the source.

The source added that the samples in a plastic slab were sent to the office of the PNA attorney general and then delivered to experts from Russia, Switzerland and France.

The tomb was closed with a wreath of flowers placed on it, and the band played a farewell melody, the source said.

Beside Tirawi, the PNA Attorney General Mohamed E'weiwi, General Clerk of Palestine Sheikh Mohamed Husein and the presidential bureau chief Tayeb Abdel Rahim, were present, but none of Arafat's family attended.

A high-ranking PNA official source told Xinhua that there was no decision about the date of declaring the testing result. However, the source said that this might take a few days or maximum one week.

Arafat was dead in a French military hospital in 2004. The Palestinians suspect that Israel poisoned Arafat when he was besieged in his Ramallah headquarters before falling ill.

Earlier this year, Swiss experts tested Arafat's personal belongings as part of a documentary aired by al-Jazeera, the Doha- based Arab news network. The report cited the Institute of Radiation Physics as saying that traces of radioactive polonium- 210 were found on Arafat's underwear and toothbrush.

Arafat's widow, Suha, filed a civil lawsuit at the French hospital asking for a murder investigation into her husband's death.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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