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Official: Palestinian figures responsible for Arafat's death

July 16, 2012 12:28 P.M. (Updated: July 17, 2012 7:29 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian intelligence officer and member of an official investigation committee on Sunday accused Palestinian figures of killing late president Yasser Arafat.

Fahmi Shabana made the comments during an interview with Israeli journalist Yoni Bin Manahim, which was published Sunday on Israel's Reshet Bet new-site.

Shabana said that two Palestinian figures were involved in Arafat's death, a security figure from the Gaza Strip and a political figure who helped cover up the crime.

The Palestinian leadership has information on the death of Yasser Arafat which it will never make public, Shabana said, adding that Al-Jazeera's recent report aimed to end President Abbas' political career.

Allegations of foul play have long surrounded Arafat's demise in November 2004 after French doctors who treated him in his final days said they could not establish the cause of death.

The controversy surrounding Arafat's death was reignited by an Al Jazeera expose last week in which the Swiss Radiophysics Institute said it found "surprisingly" high levels of polonium-210 on Arafat's clothing - the same substance used to kill former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

The Swiss institute said, however, that the symptoms described in the Palestinian president's medical reports were not consistent with the radioactive agent.

The Palestinian Authority has agreed to exhume his body from Ramallah to complete investigations, but has yet to set a date to carry it out.

Allegations of foul play - and of Palestinian involvement in it - have long marked factional fighting among Palestinians.

Reuters contributed to this report
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