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Report: Erekat says he fears for Abbas' life

Jan. 3, 2014 1:29 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 4, 2014 10:51 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat said Friday that he feared President Mahmoud Abbas might be killed by Israel, according to an international Arabic newspaper.

Erekat told Asharq al-Awsat that he had read letters from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman addressed to various European countries. He said the letters demanded the removal of Abbas, deeming him a danger to Israel.

"The Israelis have this approach," Erekat said. "Before President Arafat was killed with poison, there were voices in Sharon's government that said Arafat was an obstacle who must be removed, and they are doing that again."

The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died in France on Nov. 11, 2004 at the age of 75, but doctors were unable to specify the cause of death. No autopsy was carried out at the time, in line with his widow's request.

His remains were exhumed in November 2012, partly to investigate whether he had been poisoned with radioactive polonium.

French and Russian scientists ruled out poisoning as a cause of death, while a Swiss report said high levels of radioactive polonium indicated third party involvement in Arafat's death.

Israel has always denied involvement.

AFP contributed to this report.

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