Yasser Arafat's remains exhumed as forensic experts search for additional clues to his death
The remains of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat were exhumed from his grave today so international forensic experts could search for additional clues to his death, Palestinian officials said.
The remains were taken from the massive mausoleum in the West Bank city of Ramallah where Arafat was buried and moved to a nearby mosque so Palestinian doctors could take samples from his bones, the officials said.
Under Islam, only Muslims can handle a Muslim's remains.
The samples will be handed over to French, Swiss and Russian experts who have flown in for the exhumation and who will examine them in their home countries, the officials said.
Earlier, samples were also taken from Arafat's bedroom, office and personal belongings, they said.
The new investigation into Arafat's death was sparked earlier this year by the discovery of a lethal radioactive substance, polonium, on clothing said to be his.
Arafat died in November 2004 in a French military hospital, a month after suddenly falling ill.
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 speculation in the Arab world that Israel poisoned him. Israel has denied such allegations.
The exhumation might not resolve the mystery. Polonium-210 decomposes rapidly, and some experts say it is not clear whether any remaining samples will be sufficient for testing.
In pictures: Saturn images from Cassini probe as it prepares to turn lens towards Earth
Serena Williams apologises after comment that rape victim 'shouldn't have put herself in that position'
New banker bonus boom: Payouts leapt 64% to new record when Chancellor George Osborne cut top-rate tax to 45p in April
'There's something quite unpleasant going on': Nigel Farage confronted for second time on visit to Scotland ahead of Donside by-election
World news in pictures
- 1 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 2 Newcastle owner Mike Ashley wants blood after last season's trauma - and it won't stop with managing director Derek Llambias
- 3 Richard Nieuwenhuizen death: Six teenagers and 50-year-old father convicted of manslaughter in shocking case of referee killed over a game of football
- 4 Exclusive: Newcastle United's star talent-spotter Graham Carr on brink as Joe Kinnear sparks walkout at St James' Park
- 5 Vast methane 'plumes' seen in Arctic ocean as sea ice retreats
TBC: Capital Refrigeration Services Ltd: Capital Refrigeration Services requir...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: We are currently recruiting fo...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: . Blackpool
£5520 - £31200 per annum: Randstad Education London: If you are then please ap...