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Arafat's sister reiterates opposition to exhuming late leader's body

Nov. 11, 2012 4:15 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 12, 2012 11:36 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A sister of late leader Yasser Arafat on Sunday called on officials not to exhume his Ramallah grave.

Khadija Arafat told Ma'an that "exhuming Arafat's remains will not benefit anyone now. Punishing the murderers of Arafat does not come by exhuming his remains."

If Palestinian Authority officials know who murdered Yasser Arafat, then they can arrest them without removing his remains, she added.

Khadija has advised in the past against exhuming her late brother's body.

"Leave him to rest in his soil,” she said in July following the broadcast of an Al Jazeera investigation that raised the possibility Arafat had been poisoned.

President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that Russian experts had been invited to join the French and Swiss investigation team looking into Arafat's death.

The president made the remarks during an event marking the anniversary of Arafat's death.

The body of the late leader is set to be exhumed on Nov. 26, eight years after his death, as part of an investigation to see if he was murdered, a diplomat said last week.

A French court in August opened a murder inquiry into Arafat's death after a Swiss institute said it had discovered high levels of radioactive polonium on the Palestinian leader's clothing, which was supplied by his widow, Suha.

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