August 29, 2012
The French government officially launched an assassination inquiry in to the death of the late Palestinian President Yasir Arafat. The inquiry was opened on Tuesday August 28, 2012 and it was filed by his wife Suha and his daughter Zawra.
Al-Jazeera did a nine month investigation in to his death the final report by Swiss experts indicate polonium-210 a highly rare radioactive material which was used to kill a Russian dissident and former spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.
Ehight years after his death, there is a great indication that he might have been poisoned by polonium-210. The Institute of Radiation Physics in Lausanne examined some of Arafat’s personal items and found abnormal quantities of the naturally occurring but highly rare radioactive material.
What is polonium?
It's a silver-coloured metal found in uranium ores. Substantial amounts of Po-210 generate much heat as the atoms decay. The maximum safe body burden of Po-210 is only seven picograms. A microgram of Po-210, which is no larger than a speck of dust, would certainly deliver a fatal dose of radiation.
How does polonium-210 kill?
Polonium is only slowly excreted - it has a biological half life of around a month - and this ensures its alpha particles continue to wreak havoc once inside the body. One likely method of administration would be as a soluble salt (citrate or nitrate, for example) added to the victim's food or drink. Once ingested, polonium is rapidly distributed around the body,