The body of the late leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat, has been exhumed for an investigation into the cause of his death. Arafat’s remains were moved from his mausoleum in the city of Ramallah in Israeli-occupied West Bank and taken to a mosque early Tuesday eight years after his death. A group of French, Russian, and Swiss experts will take samples from his body at the mausoleum. The experts will return Arafat's body to the mausoleum within a few hours. Palestinian authorities were present during the exhumation process, Palestinian sources said.
The decision to exhume Arafat’s body was made after French prosecutors opened a murder probe into his death in August following the discovery of high levels of polonium, a highly-toxic radioactive substance, on his personal belongings.In July 2012, Swiss scientists said they have evidence that he may have been poisoned with polonium. Arafat died in a military hospital in Paris on November 11, 2004 at the age of 75 following several weeks of medical treatment after suffering brain hemorrhage. The analysis at the time was that he had a rare blood disorder. French officials refused to reveal the exact cause of his death, invoking privacy laws. The refusal fuelled rumors that the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, had poisoned him with thallium, a radioactive element. AO/HN/HJL