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Arab League committee to investigate Arafat's death

July 17, 2012 3:21 A.M. (Updated: July 18, 2012 2:03 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Arab League announced Tuesday that it will form an international committee to investigate the death of late president Yasser Arafat, official news agency Wafa reported.

The Arab League appointed Muhammad Sbeih, deputy secretary-general for Palestinian affairs, and the head of the League's legal department as members of the committee, which will be headed by deputy League secretary-general Ahmad Bin Hali.

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.

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

On Sunday, Palestinian intelligence officer Fahmi Shabana accused Palestinian figures of killing late president Yasser Arafat.

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.

The Palestine Liberation Organization was created by the Arab League, composed of 22 Arab states, at its first summit held in Cairo in 1964.
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