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Palestinian Investigator: Israel 'Only Suspect' in Arafat's Demise

The Palestinian head of an investigation into Yasser Arafat's death on Friday called Israel the "only suspect" in the former leader's 2004 death, while playing down the possible role of radioactive polonium in his demise, the Associated Press reported.

"It is not important that I say here that he was killed by polonium," said Tawfiq Tirawi, who leads the panel probing Arafat's death. "But I say, with all the details available about Yasser Arafat's death, that he was killed, and that Israel killed him."

Israel on Friday flatly dismissed accusations of involvement.

"Let me state this as simply as I can: Israel did not kill Arafat," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

Swiss forensic analysts on Thursday announced finding high concentrations of radioactive polonium in Arafat's exhumed remains. However, they said the finding offers only "moderate" evidence of poisoning, given concerns about a dearth of biological samples, the "chain of custody" of remains and the length of time since the leader's death.

Russian and French scientists were conducting their own testing of Arafat's remains, after France last year launched a murder investigation into the leader's death.

A member of the Palestinian probe on Friday said the Russian analysis found insufficient evidence "to support the decision that polonium 210 caused acute radiation syndrome leading to death," Reuters reported. The Russian analysts also found "large amounts" of the radioactive material in assessed samples, investigator Abdullah Bashir said.

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