Eamon Delaney: Arafat death riddle yet another link in trail that once reached Ireland
News that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat probably died of deliberate polonium poisoning is shocking, but not that surprising. In the murky world of Middle East politics, and especially the Arab-Israeli conflict, such poisonings, assassinations and dirty tricks are all part of the game. And it is a game that has, in many respects, landed right on our doorstep, here in Ireland – of which more below.
It was thought that Arafat died of natural causes in 2004, but over a year ago, traces of the deadly agent Pollonium-210 were found on his clothes. Arafat's body was exhumed and examined by Swiss scientists and, although a definitive report has yet to be made, it now seems that the agent has been found. Pollonium was the poison apparently used by Russian agents to kill the dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.
The charismatic but often shambolic Arafat would have had many enemies, including Palestinian and Arab rivals, not to mention his life-long enemy Israel.