JERUSALEM – Even though four official investigations and a hospital pathology report failed to find evidence of foreign substances in late PLO Leader Yasser Arafat’s bloodstream, a former senior Arafat aide claimed yesterday an Israeli assassin killed the Palestinian leader by blowing a slow-acting poison into his ear.
Several close Arafat associates and Palestinian terror leaders denied to WND rampant rumors Arafat was a homosexual or that he died of AIDS.
“It was easy to poison him in the ear, because he was under siege and he used to receive a lot of people and he used to hug them to kiss them and my assumption is that the perpetrator carried a small balloon of gas and he could blow it in Arafat’s ear,” said Ahmed Abdel Rahman, who worked closely with Arafat.
Rahman, speaking to a London-based Arabic newspaper on the occasion the one-year anniversary of Arafat’s death, said Arafat was poisoned at the end of September 2003 and lost 13 kilograms during the course of 16 days.
Rahman did not offer evidence to back his accusations.
David Baker, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, dismissed Rahman’s statements as “nonsense. That claim is totally baseless.”
Arafat’s grave at one-year death anniversary last weekend. Photo: WorldNetDaily
Arafat died Nov. 11, 2004, in a French military hospital. The official cause of his death was never released because French law prohibits distribution of medical records to anyone other than immediate family. Arafat’s widow, Suha, has refused to divulge any details of his illness.
Some have speculated Arafat died of poisoning or AIDS.
The authors of a new Israeli book that features a large section on Arafat’s death claim Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, Arafat’s personal physician, told them he knows Arafat’s French doctors found the AIDS virus in his bloodstream.
In “The Seventh War,” journalists Amos Harel and Avi Isacharoff state they were provided with an analysis of a confidential pathology report from the French hospital in which Arafat died, which reveals three main possibilities as to the cause of death: AIDS, poisoning or an infection.
Israeli and foreign doctors who told the authors they saw the report list the specific cause of death as a massive brain hemorrhage. They say the report details do not lead to a conclusive determination on what caused Arafat’s death, but many of the symptoms he exhibited were typical of AIDS.
Al-Kurdi, who played no role in Arafat’s medical care during the final weeks of the Palestinian leader’s life, refused to divulge the source of his AIDS information. He claimed to Harel and Isacharoff the virus was put into Arafat’s blood in an effort to blur the traces of poisoning, which he says was the “real” cause of death.
Some physicians who said they saw Arafat’s medical records told the Israeli authors they were shocked French doctors either failed to test Arafat for HIV or did not include results of an AIDS test in their report.
A recent investigation by the New York Times, which claimed it too saw Arafat’s medical records, concluded the late PLO leader died of a stroke. The Times report, which claims it is the “first independent review of [Arafat’s medical] documents” disputed claims Arafat died of AIDS. But like the Israeli analysis, the report states Arafat’s French doctors did not include HIV testing in their records, “an omission experts found bizarre.”
As WND reported, an official Palestinian Authority investigation last month into Arafat’s death was inconclusive.
“Neither the Palestinian, nor the French report arrived to conclusive results regarding the causes of Arafat’s illness and death,” PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said regarding his government’s official investigation. “The reports did not prove that Arafat was poisoned, but they do not void the possibility that Arafat was poisoned by an unknown kind poison.”
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told WND Arafat did not die of AIDS.
“There is absolutely no truth to these AIDS rumors and reports, which are baseless and part of the same campaign that tried to smear Arafat while he was alive,” said Erekat. “I trust the French, and they didn’t conclude anything about AIDS. I am not an investigator, so I can’t say how he died, but I don’t think it was from AIDS.”
Responding to rampant rumors Arafat was a homosexual, Erekat said, “That is utter nonsense and doesn’t merit any reaction.”
Ala Sanakreh, West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terror group founded by Arafat, denied in a WorldNetDaily and Talk Radio Network interview last week Arafat was a homosexual.
“This is not true! If someone says this we will cut his head!” exclaimed Senakreh.
In a recent WorldNetDaily exclusive interview Hamas chief Mahmoud al-Zahar said he is suspicious the PA may have been involved in Arafat’s death.
“I can tell you from the beginning that this committee will never publish its results,” al-Zahar said, referring to the recent PA investigation. “It will not do so in order to keep from harm elements and members in the PA. Also, its members do not want Palestinian elements and other personalities and even other states to be involved in their investigation.
“I, myself, as a doctor wonder what is the disease Arafat supposedly had that cannot be diagnosed and that the big France did not succeed in diagnosing. This is a crime and it is a political issue. And many persons, many elements and many states are not interested in clarifying this story in order to prevent problems. I also believe that Arafat died a long time before the official statement of his death was given. He died at least a week before it was announced.”
Meanwhile, Farouk Kaddoumi, head of the PA’s Fatah faction, has demanded the U.N. Security Council open an investigation into “the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.”