Poison ‘highest’ possible cause for death: Arafat’s physician

Amman: A leading Jordanian neurologist who regularly examined Yasser Arafat said on Friday that poisoning was the “highest” possible cause of the Palestinian leader’s mysterious death and urged that an autopsy be performed.

“One of the causes of platelet deficiency is poison,” said Dr Ashraf al-Kurdi, who examined a gravely ill Arafat in his besieged compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah two weeks ago.

Arafat died in Paris, where he had flown Oct 29 for treatment after tests indicated he had a low count of blood platelets, components that help clotting. Neither doctors nor Palestinian leaders have said what caused Arafat’s death after days in a coma.

Although “not definitive, I believe the highest reason for Arafat’s mysterious death is poisoning,” al-Kurdi told The Associated Press in an interview today. “Therefore, there should be an autopsy performed,” added al-Kurdi, who had been Arafat’s personal physician for the last two decades.

There has been widespread speculation that Arafat could have been poisoned by Israel. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom dismissed allegations that Israel killed Arafat as “scandalous and false.” While poisoning can lead to a low platelet count, so can a variety of maladies, from major bone marrow malfunction and cancer to infection.

Courtesy News Watcher and Liberty Forum