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Russia: Arafat's death not caused by radiation

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 26, 2013 at 7:23 a.m.

MOSCOW — A Russian probe into the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has found no trace of radioactive poisoning, the chief of the government agency that conducted the study said Thursday.

Vladimir Uiba, the head of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency, said the agency had no plans to conduct further tests.

"It was a natural death; there was no impact of radiation," Uiba said, according to Russian news agencies.

Teams of scientists from France, Switzerland and Russia were asked to determine whether polonium, a rare and extremely lethal substance, played a role in Arafat's death in a French military hospital in 2004. Palestinians have long suspected Israel of poisoning him, which Israel denies. Russia, meanwhile, has had close ties with Palestinian authorities since Soviet times when Moscow supported their struggle.

After a 2012 report which said traces of radioactive polonium were found on Arafat's clothing, his widow Suha Arafat filed a legal complaint in France seeking an investigation into whether he was murdered.

As part of that probe, French investigators had Arafat's remains exhumed and ordered a series of tests on them.

Suha Arafat, who was notified of the findings earlier this month along with her lawyers, said that the French experts found traces of polonium but came to different conclusions than the Swiss about where they came from, finding that it was "of natural environmental origin."

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