The body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was exhumed on Tuesday by scientists, who gathered samples that will be sent for radioactive polonium testing.
Workers started the process at around midnight at a mausoleum in the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, West Bank, reported Al Jazeera. His remains were reburied on the same day in a process that took around 10 hours.
“We have asked them to test for all poisons, not only for polonium,” Abdullah Bashir, one of Arafat’s doctors, told the network.
An investigation that was reported on earlier this year found that Arafat’s final personal belongings had elevated levels of polonium, a radioactive and chemical element, which has been used to poison people in the past. Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko died as a result of polonium poisoning in 2006.
This August, French authorities opened an investigation into Arafat’s death after the polonium findings.
Arafat died eight years ago and some residents of Ramallah were not pleased that his body was exhumed.
“This is wrong. After all this time, today they suddenly want to find out the truth?” construction worker Ahmad Yousef told Reuters. “They should have done it eight years ago,” he added.
Arafat’s doctor Abdullah Bashir told the news agency that around 20 samples were taken; it will take at least three months to analyze them.