The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

Headlines

November 28, 2012

Arafat grave dug up for investigation

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Eight years after Yasser Arafat’s mysterious death, his political heirs opened his grave Tuesday and let forensics experts take samples from his remains, defying strong cultural taboos in search of evidence that the icon of Palestinian nationalism was poisoned.

Palestinians have claimed for years that Israel poisoned Arafat, who died in a French hospital. Israel has denied the charges.

The exhumation marked the end of months of procedural wrangling but only the beginning of the testing. Palestinian officials said it would take at least three months to get results, and even then, they might not be conclusive.

Workers opened Arafat’s tomb before daybreak Tuesday, laying bare the remains some 13 feet below ground level, the Palestinian health minister said. A Palestinian forensics examiner took some 20 samples and handed them to Swiss, French and Russian experts, officials said.

Huge sheets of blue tarpaulin draped over Arafat’s mausoleum hid the scene from view, part of an attempt by Palestinian officials to minimize any potential backlash against digging up the grave of Arafat, still widely revered in the Palestinian territories.

By midmorning, the grave was resealed, and Palestinian officials laid wreaths of flowers to signal Arafat’s reburial.

The three teams will separately analyze the samples for possible poison, including polonium-210, a lethal radioactive substance first detected in elevated amounts on some of Arafat’s clothing this summer.

Polonium disintegrates rapidly, and experts have cautioned that too much time may have passed since Arafat’s death to reach a conclusive result.

Polonium was used in the 2006 killing of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB officer turned Russian government critic. Litvinenko blamed the Kremlin for poisoning him.

Israel has denied killing Arafat, but many Palestinians believe Israel’s then-prime minister, Arafat nemesis Ariel Sharon, had means, motive and opportunity.

Former Sharon spokesman Raanan Gissin said Tuesday that such allegations are baseless and that Israel “had no reason” to kill Arafat, who in his final years lived under Israeli military siege in his walled West Bank compound.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • movieposter Movie about Moore tornado survivors premieres May 16

    MOORE — Exploring ideas of faith and hope, an Oklahoma faith-based documentary on the May 20, 2013, EF-5 Moore tornado is scheduled to premiere at the Moore Warren Theatre May 16....

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Survivors observe 19th anniversary

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Survivors, rescue workers and the family members of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have observed the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack....

    April 20, 2014

  • Police arrest man connected to homicide

    Norman Police have arrested Abid Sandhu, 37 years old, of Norman, on a complaint of Murder in the First Degree. Formal charges have yet to be filed. At approximately 3:35 a.m. Saturday, the Norman Police Communications Center received a ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Cody’s Run raises $14,000

    Cody Ponder’s positive attitude was infectious even while he struggled with esophageal cancer. He always worked to help others and his giving spirit inspired a 5k race to benefit struggling patients. Last year Cody’s family organized a run ...

    April 20, 2014

  • State budget talks center on cuts

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With six weeks left in the 2014 session, behind-the-scenes negotiations among the House, Senate and governor’s office are ramping up on how to plug a $188 million hole in the budget and fund programs for education, public ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose measure

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature, proposed as a reaction to the case of an oral surgeon accused of maintaining filthy office conditions, that deals with training requirements for oral surgery ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Former mayor files for county office

    Local physician and former Norman Mayor Harold Haralson recently filed his candidacy for the Cleveland County Commission District 3 seat....

    April 20, 2014

  • Selling Norman is love at first sight

    Meeting planners who make a site visit to Norman tend to fall in love, convention and hospitality experts said this week. The staff of the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau are commissioned with the job of promoting tourism and selling ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Green House is a homegrown business

    Nancy Muenzler was a banker in her previous life. That was before the Green House, 1708 SW 24th Street, became her passion....

    April 20, 2014

  • Conan’s martial arts moves downtown

    Conan’s Kickboxing, Karate, Boxing, Jujitsu, MMA Academy is celebrating the grand opening of a new facility right in the heart of downtown Norman at 310 E. Main St. Founded in 1996 by four-time World Kickboxing Champion Scott “Conan” ...

    April 20, 2014