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Middle East

French judges to visit Ramallah in Arafat probe

A Palestinian man cleans a portrait of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 29, 2012. AFP PHOTO/ABBAS MOMANI

PARIS: Yasser Arafat's widow says French judges will visit the West Bank town of Ramallah as part of a probe into his death.

The circumstances of the Palestinian leader's death eight years ago in a French military hospital have long aroused suspicion, with a Swiss laboratory recently claiming it had detected radioactive polonium-210 on his clothing.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reluctantly agreed this summer to allow Arafat's remains to be exhumed after the new evidence prompted his widow, Suha Arafat, to seek a criminal investigation in France.

In a statement issued through her French and British lawyers Wednesday, she said three investigating judges in charge of the case from a western Paris suburb say they are arranging a visit to Ramallah.

The statement said French scientific experts will "soon" be able to take samples from Arafat's body, without elaborating.

 

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