Ramallah, Nov 27 (IANS) Palestinian engineers Tuesday dug up the tomb of late leader Yasser Arafat to take samples from his remains for poison tests, sources said.
The head of the Palestinian committee investigating Arafat's death, Tawfiq Tirawi, was present during the digging beside investigators and experts from Switzerland, France and Russia, Xinhua quoted sources as saying.
Arafat's remains are still in the tomb, the sources said, adding that they will be exhumed and moved to a mosque near the tomb in the Palestinian presidency's Ramallah headquarters.
Tight security measures were taken to ensure the secrecy of the process.
The investigation aims to find out if Arafat's death in a French hospital Nov 11, 2004, resulted from poisoning. The Palestinians suspect that Israel had poisoned Arafat when he was besieged in his Ramallah headquarters before falling ill.
Earlier this year, Swiss experts tested Arafat's personal belongings as part of a documentary aired by Al−Jazeera, the Doha−based TV channel. The report cited the Institute of Radiation Physics as saying that traces of radioactive polonium−210 were found on Arafat's underwear and toothbrush.
Arafa's widow, Suha, filed a civil lawsuit at a French hospital asking for a murder investigation into her husband's death. The Palestinian leadership also decided to bring in the Russians for more credible inquiry.