Abbas says still suspects Arafat was poisoned
Cairo, Mar 3: Palestinian leaders still suspect Yasser Arafat died of poisoning, President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview published today (Mar 3, 2006).
But in the absence of proof, Abbas told the London-based newspaper al-Hayat he did not intend to accuse anyone of killing Arafat, who died in Paris at the age of 75 in November 2004.
''Question marks have been raised about Israel. But I cannot accuse it before I am certain and have proof,'' he said.
''We have suspicions that Yasser Arafat might have been murdered by poison. We don't have any proof. So I have said that the file is open until we know the truth,'' Abbas said.
He said the French doctors told the Palestinians they could not trace in Arafat's blood any poison known to them. ''So there are poisons which they do not know,'' he added.
Arafat's aides had quoted doctors as saying he had weight loss and a low count of platelets, which help the blood to clot.
They later said he had gone into a coma, suffered a brain haemorrhage and lost the use of his vital organs one by one.
Arafat led the Palestinian movement for close to 40 years.
For the last four years of his life, Israel confined him to his Ramallah offices.