4 Dec 2013

Arafat not poisoned, say French judges

6:36 pm on 4 December 2013

A team of judges appointed by a court in France to investigate the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004 has dismissed the theory he was poisoned.

The judges said the Palestinian leader died of natural causes.

In October this year, Swiss forensic experts said Arafat's exhumed body contained unexpectedly high levels of polonium, a radioactive element, but there was no absolute proof he was poisoned, the BBC reports.

Mr Arafat led the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) for 35 years and became the first president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996.

He died at a military hospital in Paris on 11 November 2004, aged 75.

Official medical records say he died from a stroke resulting from a blood disorder. French doctors were not able at the time to determine what had caused this.

Mr Arafat's body was exhumed for testing in 2012 amid continuing claims that he was murdered. Many Palestinians accuse Israel of being behind his death - a claim that Israel has always denied.