Swiss scientists have given details about the traces of a radioactive substance found on personal items belonging to Yasser Arafat, adding to claims that the late Palestinian president was poisoned by Israel.
The discovery of polonium-210 on Arafat's effects was first made public last year. His body was exhumed from its mausoleum in the West Bank city of Ramallah last November for tests by Swiss, French and Russian scientists, but no results have been officially disclosed.
In a paper in the medical journal the Lancet, toxicologists said they had examined 38 items belonging to Arafat, including underwear and a toothbrush, and compared them with a control group of 37 items of his that had been in storage for some time before his death in 2004.
They found traces of the substance that "support the possibility of Arafat's poisoning with polonium-210", the scientists reported adding: "Although the absence of myelosuppression [bone marrow deficiency] and hair loss does not favour acute radiation syndrome, symptoms of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diarrhoea, and anorexia, followed by hepatic and renal failures, might suggest radioactive poisoning."
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