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Arafat's widow lodges death appeal

The widow of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has formally asked for an investigation into his death, claiming he was assassinated amid new suspicions he was poisoned before he died in a French military hospital.

Earlier this month Palestinian authorities gave final approval for Mr Arafat's body to be exhumed. In recent tests of his belongings requested by his widow and the Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera, a Swiss lab detected elevated traces of polonium-210 - a rare and lethal substance - but said the findings were inconclusive and that Mr Arafat's bones would have to be tested. And questions remain about the results of any additional tests after so long.

French doctors have said Mr Arafat died of a massive stroke in 2004 and had suffered from a blood condition.

A French judge will still have to decide whether to accept the complaint - also brought on behalf of Suha Arafat's daughter - and open an investigation.

The family's lawyer said the request was intended to "establish the truth in honour of their husband and father."

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