TEL AVIV – Yasser Arafat had the deadly HIV virus in his bloodstream when he died, the late PLO leader’s personal physician disclosed last night in an interview with the Arab news media.
Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, Arafat’s personal physician, began telling Al Jazeera during a live interview he knew that Arafat had HIV in his bloodstream at the time of his death, but the satellite Arabic network immediately cut him off when he made the accusation.
Hours later, a Jordanian news website Amman quoted al-Kurdi as saying someone injected HIV into Arafat’s body before he died and that the real cause of the Palestinian leader’s death was poison.
Al-Kurdi was Arafat’s doctor for 18 years up to a few months before the PLO leader died. He played no role in Arafat’s medical care during the final weeks of the Palestinian leader’s life and refused to divulge the source of the AIDS information. He claimed 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.
Arafat died Nov. 11, 2004, at a military hospital in Paris. The official cause of death was not 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.
Al-Kurdi told the Jordanian news website Arafat’s sickness and death leave open many questions that should be investigated.
“I would usually be summoned to attend to Arafat immediately, even when all he had was a simple cold,” said al-Kurdi.
“But when his medical situation was really deteriorating, they chose not to call me at all,” the doctor said.
Al-Kurdi said Suha Arafat refused to allow him to visit Arafat in the private Paris hospital where he was being treated and that he was later denied access to Arafat’s body.
He demanded the French government set up a commission of inquiry.
The Palestinian Authority in 2005 obtained a copy of Arafat’s medical report as part of an internal investigation into Arafat’s death, but the PA never disclosed what it found.
Last month, during an interview, an occasional Arafat confident and well-known terrorist leader stated the confidential medical report released to the PA from the French hospital in which Arafat died revealed the Palestinian leader succumbed to AIDS.
Ahmed Jibril – the infamous, Damascus-based PFLP chief who at times was a close Arafat confidante – said in an interview with Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his team told him the French medical report listed AIDS as Arafat’s cause of death.
“When Abu Mazen (Abbas) came to Damascus with his team, I asked them: ‘What happened to the investigation into the death of Abu Ammar (Arafat)? The Israelis killed him. He was my colleague ever since 1965 and used to sleep at my home. He and I followed the same path.
“Is it conceivable that when (former Lebanese Prime Minister) Rafiq Al-Hariri was killed, all hell broke loose, even though he was just a merchant in Saudi Arabia, who later entered politics, whereas the death of Yasser Arafat, who for 40 years had been carrying his gun from one place to another, is not investigated? Is this conceivable?”
Continued Jibril: “They (Abbas’ team) were silent, and then one of them said to me: ‘To be honest, the French gave us the medical report that stated that the cause of Abu Ammar’s death was AIDS.”
Jibril stressed the AIDS information doesn’t originate with him but was told to him by Abbas and his team:
“I am not saying this, they did. Now they pretend that they miss Yasser Arafat and complain that [Hamas] entered his house in [Gaza] and so on.”
Jibril’s PFLP has carried out numerous anti-American and anti-Israeli terror operations. The group is suspected by some of targeting Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988. Jibril is believed to have been behind a massive shipment of weapons to Arafat in 2001 that was seized by Israel and used as part of a campaign to isolate the late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader.
Many senior Palestinian officials claimed in media interviews they are convinced Arafat was poisoned by Israel.
While Arafat was ill and after his death, some publicly speculated he was dying of AIDS.
In his book “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder”, radio talk-show host Michael Savage speculated Arafat had died of AIDS. Savage also slammed much of the U.S. news media for its posthumous characterization of Arafat as “innovative” and a “freedom fighter,” stating the PLO leader was a notorious terrorist leader.
The homosexual site 365Gay.com, which deals regularly with issues related to HIV/AIDS, ran a piece reminding readers that for several years it had been suggested Arafat was bisexual and could have contracted the disease.
“If suggestions that Arafat has AIDS are true, it is doubtful it would be made public,” wrote its European bureau chief Malcolm Thornberry.
National Review diarist David Frum suggested in a column Arafat contracted AIDS from homosexual sex with his bodyguards.
Ion Pacepa, who was deputy chief of Romanian foreign intelligence under the Ceausescu regime and who defected to the West in 1978, stated in his memoirs the Romanian government bugged Arafat and had recordings of the Arab leader in orgies with his security detail.
Arafat’s wife, Suha, mostly lived abroad and rarely saw her husband.
In a WND interview, the National Security Agency’s former analyst of Arafat’s communications said the U.S. had information indicating the Palestinian leader may have been a homosexual who preyed on teenage boys.
James J. Welsh, who in the early 1970s monitored communications for the NSA related to Arafat’s Fatah movement, said, “One of the things we looked for when we were intercepting Fatah communications were messages about Ashbal [Lion cub] members who would be called to Beirut from bases outside of Beirut. The Ashbal were often orphaned or abandoned boys who were brought into the organization, ostensibly to train for later entry into Fedayeen fighter units.
“Arafat always had several of these 13-15 year old boys in his entourage. We figured out that he would often recall several of these boys to Beirut just before he would leave for a trip outside Lebanon. It proved to be a good indicator of Arafat’s travel plans. While Arafat did have a regular security detail, many of those thought to be security personnel – the teenage boys – were actually there for other purposes,” Welsh said.
Arafat’s Fatah and PLO organizations based themselves in Beirut after they were expelled from Jordan in 1970. The terror groups remained in Lebanon until Israel’s military operations in the area in 1982.
In response to Welsh’s allegations, senior Arafat aide and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told WND the reports are “utter nonsense and don’t merit any reaction.”
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