The first forensic tests on remains from the exhumed corpse of Yasser Arafat have shown unexpectedly high levels of radioactive polonium-210, suggesting the Palestinian leader could have been poisoned with the rare and lethal substance.

The Swiss scientists who tested Arafat’s remains after the exhumation of his body in November discovered levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than the norm in Arafat’s ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his leaked bodily fluids.

The Swiss forensic report was handed to representatives of Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) on Tuesday.

A copy of the report was obtained exclusively by the al-Jazeera TV network, which shared it with The Guardian.

The Swiss report said that even taking into account the eight years since Arafat’s death and the quality of specimens taken from bone fragments and tissue scraped from his decayed corpse and shroud, the results “moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210”. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2013

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