Russia says Arafat was not poisoned

Dec. 26, 2013 at 7:25 AM
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MOSCOW, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- The head of Russia's medical and biological agency Thursday said former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of natural causes, not polonium poisoning.

Vladimir Ujba, head of Russia's Federal Medical-Biological Agency, told journalists Arafat died of natural causes and there was no indication of radiation poisoning, RAPSI, the Russian Legal Information Agency, reported.

"He died of natural causes, not radiation poisoning. The Swiss made a somewhat ambitious statement, but they have since retracted it and have accepted our conclusion, which our French colleagues have also confirmed," the agency quoted him saying.

Arafat died in a Paris hospital in 2004. Due to the controversy surrounding his death the Palestinian Authority permitted French, Swiss and Russian forensic experts to take samples from his body and clothing for testing. The French and Russian experts ruled out radiation poisoning while Swiss experts indicated he died of polonium poisoning.

The Palestinians have accused Israel of assassinating Arafat, something the Israelis have denied.

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