The radiation was determined to be from the extremely rare, highly concentrated isotope polonium-210, which became notorious after it was used to assassinate KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. Many at the time believed the assassination was state-sponsored, as the only possible sources of polonium-210 are in nuclear-equipped nations like Russia, the U.S. and Israel, among others.
Arafat’s widow provided some of his belongings to journalists researching the former leader’s mysterious death. Unconfirmed reports at the time suggested he died of AIDS, but Al Jazeera claimed that a lengthy investigation has proved that was not the case and that Arafat was in good health before he suddenly fell ill in 2004.
Scientists at Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the tests were conducted, cautioned that finding polonium-210 on Arafat’s clothing and toothbrush does not mean he was assassinated by radiation, and that further testing is needed.
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