French judges to visit Ramallah in Arafat probe

Yasser Arafat

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2007 file photo members of a Palestinian honor guard stand next to the tombstone, backdropped by a huge poster, which marks the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, inside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Abbas has given his permission for the exhumation of the remains of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, a top aide said Monday, July 9, 2012, days after a Swiss institute reported finding elevated traces of a radioactive substance on the late leader's belongings. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen, File)

PARIS (AP) — Yasser Arafat's widow says French judges will visit the West Bank town of Ramallah as part of a probe into his death.

The circumstances of the Palestinian leader's death eight years ago in a French military hospital have long aroused suspicion, with a Swiss laboratory recently claiming it had detected radioactive polonium-210 on his clothing.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reluctantly agreed this summer to allow Arafat's remains to be exhumed after the new evidence prompted his widow, Suha Arafat, to seek a criminal investigation in France.

In a statement issued through her French and British lawyers Wednesday, she said three investigating judges in charge of the case from a western Paris suburb say they are arranging a visit to Ramallah.

The statement said French scientific experts will "soon" be able to take samples from Arafat's body, without elaborating.
Associated Press
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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