Russian experts to aid in exhuming Arafat's remains

The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Russian experts will join a team of Swiss and French investigators in exhuming the remains of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat later this month.

Palestinians mark the 8th anniversary of the late Palestinian leader's death

A Palestinian child holds a poster of the late Yasser Arafat and current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as they mark the 8th anniversary of Arafat's death, Sunday. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Associated Press)

The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Russian experts will join a team of Swiss and French investigators in exhuming the remains of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat later this month.

Abbas said Sunday he hopes that, thanks to the Russian involvement, "new facts will arise or be known about the causes of death."

Arafat's death, eight years ago Sunday, in a French hospital in November 2004 has remained a mystery for many. While the immediate cause was a stroke, the underlying source of an illness he suffered in his final weeks has never been clear. That led to conspiracy theories that he had cancer, AIDS or was poisoned.

The new probes come after a Swiss lab discovered traces of a deadly radioactive isotope on clothes said to be Arafat's, sparking new accusations he was poisoned.