A high-ranking Muslim cleric who was with Yasser Arafat as he lay dying in a French military hospital says the Palestinian leader was poisoned.
Sheikh Taissir Dayut Tamimi, the former mufti for the Palestinian Authority and the current chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council in al-Quds (Jerusalem), made the remarks on Friday in the city of al-Khalil (Hebron) in the south of the occupied West Bank, AP reported.
"When I arrived in Paris, he was unconscious and in a deep coma, he did not feel my presence. When I entered the room he was in a very difficult situation, his face was bleeding, he was in the intensive care unit, he was connected to several medical machines, he did not realize what was going (on) around him. I nearly fell down when I saw that sight," Tamimi said.
"Hours after his death, we washed him, I oversaw it, the blood did not stop, it continued to come out from the pores of his skin, from different parts of his body. There were red and blue blemishes on his body, on his hands and legs, that's what I remember,” he added.
“He was still bleeding, I had to ask for band aids to stop the bleeding to be able to wash him, so they brought me the band aids. I asked the doctor who brought the band aids, that this is so strange that the body is still bleeding after (a) couple of hours of his death. He said that maybe there are some toxins that affected the procedure of the blood clotting, and this fluidization is a result of poison, the blood flows heavily, and comes out from the body as if it was sweat. And since then, I said from the beginning that Abu Ammar (Arafat) was poisoned."
Suha Arafat, Arafat’s widow, said, "Nobody saw it, we thought that the French did all the work, you know, and they did not discover any poison. And the Palestinian Authority, maybe for religious reason or for other reasons, did not think, you know. When you are under shock you don't think about autopsy, it was very rapid, all the procedures of his death and burial were very quick."
She added, “We had 50 doctors, they've done all that they could do, but maybe at the time it did not occur to them to search for radioactive elements in his body.”
Scientists of the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland said last week that they have evidence that Arafat may have been poisoned with polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element.
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat died on November 11, 2004, following several weeks of medical treatment.
At the time, French officials refused to reveal the exact cause of his death on grounds of privacy laws, fueling rumors that the Mossad had poisoned him with thallium, another radioactive element.
Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was also poisoned with polonium. At a London hotel in 2006, he was given a cup of tea laced with the substance.