News and Information

Palestinians push for Arafat file
November 17, 2004
A Palestinian delegation is to travel to France to seek details on the precise cause of Yasser Arafat's death, officials in Ramallah said.

Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei asked for Arafat's medical records to be released but France's privacy law has prevented the cause of death being revealed.

Only his immediate family, including wife Suha, can receive the files.

Speculation among ordinary Palestinians that the 75-year-old was poisoned by Israel were dismissed by the leaders.

Israel has also strongly denied any involvement in Arafat's death.


"A delegation will go to France to obtain clarifications on the medical report on what caused the death of our martyr leader Yasser Arafat," said interim Palestinian president Rawhi Fattouh.

Meanwhile, France's Le Monde newspaper has said doctors who treated Arafat believed he died of a blood clotting disorder called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

The condition was described "as the complete disruption of the mechanisms which normally assure proper blood clotting... It can lead to major internal bleeding and possible death."

Quoting "very good sources", the paper said DIC is a condition rather than an actual disease, which could have been triggered in a person of Arafat's age by either infection or a cancer - although they found no indication of either.

"We also worked on the question of poisoning, using sophisticated techniques, before concluding with a negative," a doctor was quoted as saying.

Arafat died on 11 November of multiple organ failure. He was flown from Ramallah to Paris' Percy military hospital on 29 October after his health deteriorated and he fell into a coma a few days later.


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