(JTA) – Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat did not die of poisoning, a French prosecutor said. The prosecutor told the French news agency AFP that French experts found that Arafat was not poisoned, despite rumors to the contrary. Arafat’s widow, Suha, had filed legal action in July 2012 asking French authorities in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre to look into claims that her husband was poisoned. Traces of radioactive polonium were found on Arafat’s belongings. French prosecutors in August 2012 opened a murder inquiry into Arafat’s death. After the opening of the inquiry, Arafat’s tomb in Ramallah was opened to allow teams of French, Swiss and Russian investigators to collect samples.
Arafat fell violently ill in October 2004 and died two weeks later, at 75, in a Paris military hospital. The medical report published after Arafat’s death listed the immediate cause as a massive brain hemorrhage resulting from an infection. Doctors ruled out foul play; some had contended that Arafat died of AIDS.
Many Palestinians continue to believe that Arafat was poisoned by Israel because he was an obstacle to peace. Israel has denied any involvement.