Yasser Arafat investigators to ‘name assassin suspects’
Palestinian Authority which has pointed finger at Israel says it is in ‘last 15 minutes of investigation’
PALESTINIAN investigators are planning to name the people they believe were responsible for the death of Yasser Arafat.
The former president of the Palestinian National Authority died unexpectedly in 2004. His body was exhumed last year following claims that there had been an "unexplained" level of polonium in his personal effects.
Tawfiq Tirawi, who is leading the official Palestinian Authority probe into Arafat’s death, said his team was in the “last 15 minutes of the investigation”.
He told Palestine Today: “I promise that the next press conference will be the last, and will cast into the light of day everyone who perpetrated, took part in or conspired in the matter.”
Tirawi last month said that "Israel is the prime and only suspect to be accused" but he is yet to name any individuals or reveal any evidence.
A forensic report compiled by Swiss scientists found more than 18-times the normal level of polonium-210 in samples of Arafat's remains, lending "moderate" support to the theory that he was poisoned.
The Palestinian investigators say the report proved Arafat did not die of old age or ill health, but was the victim of an "assassination".
Many Palestinians have long believed Israel killed the PLO leader – a charge Tel Aviv vehemently denies. Others, including Arafat’s widow, Suha, have accused members of his own inner circle.
Tirawi claims to have interrogated "hundreds of people" during the investigation and obtained proof supporting the theory that Arafat was murdered.
However, a separate forensic study of Arafat’s remains compiled by Russian scientists, concluded there was "insufficient information" to say whether or not the guerrilla leader was poisoned with polonium. An anonymous source subsequently told Al-Jazeera that Russia's foreign ministry had pressured the Russian scientists to reach conclusions that would not offend Israel.
The Russian scientists were allowed to examine only four out of 20 samples, which yielded "suspiciously low" levels of polonium-210, the source claimed. ·