Arafat's remains said to be exhumed Tuesday

Associated Press Modified: November 24, 2012 at 6:00 am •  Published: November 24, 2012
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The new probe into his death began this summer, after a Swiss lab discovered traces of polonium-210, a deadly radioactive isotope, on clothes said to be Arafat's. The clothes were provided by Arafat's widow, Suha, and given to the lab by the Arab satellite TV station Al-Jazeera. Separately, Mrs. Arafat asked the French government to investigate, while the Palestinian Authority called in Russian experts.

Arafat's death has remained a mystery for many. 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 conspiracy theories that he had cancer, AIDS or was poisoned.

Many in the Arab world believe Arafat, the face of the Palestinian independence struggle for four decades, was killed by Israel. Israel, which saw Arafat as an obstacle to peace, vehemently denies the charge.

There is no guarantee the exhumation will solve the mystery. Polonium-210 is known to rapidly decompose, and experts are divided over whether any remaining samples will be sufficient for testing.