Polonium-210 found in Yasser Arafat’s bones

BY newsdesk  November 6, 2013 at 12:28 PM EST

Al Jazeera reported Wednesday that Swiss scientists claim to have found 18 times the normal level of polonium — a highly radioactive element — in the remains of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The body of Arafat, who died in 2004, was exhumed in November 2012 at the request of his widow, Suha, as part of a French murder investigation into a possible poisoning by polonium-210 after the substance was found on some of his clothes that same year. The findings have many claiming that the leader’s murder is all but confirmed. Forensic scientist and retired detective David Barclay told Al Jazeera that he is convinced that the report was the “smoking gun” that proved the murder. “What we don’t know is who’s holding the gun at the time.” However, Swiss scientists involved with the report say the findings “moderately” support polonium as the cause of death.

A 108-page report that details the findings was released by the University Centre of Legal Medicine, part of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and was obtained by Al Jazeera as part of their report.