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Russian team to assist in Arafat exhumation

Updated: 2012-11-22 09:27
( Agencies)

Russian team to assist in Arafat exhumation

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stands in front of a banner with a picture of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat during a ceremony marking the eighth anniversary of his death in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in this Nov 11, 2012 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

MOSCOW - Russia will send forensics experts to help examine the body of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat which is due to be exhumed next week as part of international attempts to establish whether he was murdered, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the current Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, had requested Russia assist in the exhumation due to take place in Ramallah on Nov 26.

"They all have high professional expertise and the practical experience to conduct the necessary tests," Lukashevich said.

"They will include members of Federal Medical-Biology Agency and the director of the Russian Centre of Forensic Medical Expertise."

Allegations of foul play have long surrounded the 2004 death of Arafat and the case resurfaced this summer when a Swiss institute said it had discovered high levels of radioactive element polonium-210 on his clothing.

Polonium is the radioactive substance found to have killed former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, a case that has weighed heavily on ties between Moscow and London.