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Swiss forensic experts to reveal findings on Arafat case on Thursday

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat enters a helicopter as he leaves his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah in this October 29, 2004
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat enters a helicopter as he leaves his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah in this October 29, 2004

GENEVA (Reuters) - Swiss scientists who conducted tests on the remains of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whose widow Suha says he was poisoned by radioactive polonium, will give a news conference on Thursday on their findings.

Professors Patrice Mangin, director of Lausanne University Hospital's forensics center, and Francois Bochud, director of its Institute of Radiation Physics, will "answer questions related to their report handed over on Tuesday to representatives of Madame Suha Arafat and the Palestinian Authority", a statement said.

The news conference is due at 1245 GMT.

A team of experts, including from Lausanne University Hospital's Institute of Radiation Physics, opened Arafat's grave in the West Bank city of Ramallah last November, and took samples from his body to seek evidence of alleged poisoning.

His widow Suha told Reuters in Paris on Wednesday: "We are revealing a real crime, a political assassination."

Arafat signed the 1993 Oslo interim peace accords with Israel and led a subsequent uprising after the failure of talks in 2000 on a comprehensive agreement.

Allegations of foul play surfaced immediately after his death in a French military hospital in 2004. Arafat had foes among his own people, but many Palestinians pointed the finger at Israel, which besieged him in his Ramallah headquarters for the final two and a half years of his life.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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