Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that Russian experts will join a team of Swiss and French investigators in exhuming the remains of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat later this month.
Abbas said he hopes that thanks to the Russian involvement, "new facts will arise or be known about the causes of death."
A team of Swiss investigators visited Yasser Arafat's grave in Ramallah last week to determine how best to dig up remains and extract samples ahead of their exhumation later this month, a Palestinian official said.
The Swiss team, one of two groups set to conduct parallel probes into Arafat's 2004 death, spent an hour inspecting the tomb, located in a mausoleum outside Palestinian government headquarters. A Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said the exhumation would most likely take place November 26.
Arafat's death in a French hospital in November 2004 has remained a mystery
for many. While the immediate cause was a stroke, the underlying source of an
illness he suffered in his final weeks has never been clear. That led to conspiracy theories that he had cancer, AIDS or was poisoned.
The new probes come after a Swiss lab discovered traces of a deadly radioactive isotope on clothes said to be Arafat's, sparking new accusations he was poisoned.
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