04/07/2012 13:54 BST | Updated 05/07/2012 11:40 BST

Yasser Arafat's Body 'Could Be Exhumed' Over Polonium Poisoning Claims Palestinian Leaders Say (PICTURES)

Palestination authorities have said they see no reason why Yasser Arafat's body cannot be exhumed after it was alleged the late leader was poisoned with a lethal dose of radioactive substance polonium-210.

According to Reuters, Senior official Saeb Erakat has called for an internal investigation and the Palestinian administration said it would not be obstructing requests by his widow to exhume Arafat's body, which currently lies in a limestone tomb in Ramallah, on the West Bank.

The investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death follow a programme broadcast by Al Jazeera.

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Yasser Arafat died in Paris, aged 75, in 2004. French officials never disclosed the reason for his death

"We have to exhume Yasser Arafat's body to reveal the truth to all the Muslim and Arab world," Suha Arafat told Al Jazeera.

Evidence for the allegations centre around urine stains found in Arafat's underpants. Tests by scientists from the Institute de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland claim to have found more than 20 times the levels of polonium needed to kill a human being on Arafat's clothes.

The 75-year-old Palestinian leader suffered extreme diahorrea, vomiting and weight-loss before his death in 2004 in Paris, reports Al Jazeera. He had been well until his health suffered an extreme deterioration, reports AFP.


Arafat with his wife Suha in October 2004, prior to their departure to Paris.

The same symptoms were suffered by the former Russian KGB spy Litvinenko, who was poisoned with polonium -210 in 2006.

Polonium -210 is an extremely powerful element, used to power spacecraft.

Marie Curie who discovered the element at the turn of the 20th century died from leukaemia after prolonged exposure to radioactive material.


Alexander Litvinenko in his hospital bed after being poisoned with polonium -210

Francois Bochud, head of the Institute of Radiation Physics at the University of Lausanne, said:

"If (Suha Arafat) really wants to know what happened to her husband, an exhumation should provide us with a sample that should have a very high quantity of polonium if he was poisoned,"