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Palestinians To Allow Autopsy Of Arafat's Body

A woman walks past a mural depicting the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City.
Palestinian authorities say they will allow the exhumation of former leader Yasser Arafat's body for more testing following reports suggesting his 2004 death could have been caused by radiation poisoning.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said on July 4 that he is willing to cooperate with further testing.

Arafat's widow, Suha, has called for an autopsy after a Swiss laboratory found elevated levels of a radioactive isotope in belongings the Palestinian leader is said to have used in his final days. The Swiss lab tested Arafat's belonging at her request.

Francois Bochud, who heads the Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne, Switzerland, told AP on July 4 that the tests detected an unexplained level of polonium.

The former Palestinian leader died at a military hospital outside Paris in November 2004 of what French doctors called a massive brain hemorrhage weeks after he fell violently ill at his West Bank compound.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa