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Jul 9, 2012 5:51 AM by Kate Richards

Yasser Arafat's body to be exhumed

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - A top aide says Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has given his permission to exhume the remains of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat.

The decision came days after a Swiss institute found elevated traces of a radioactive agent reportedly on Arafat's belongings, reviving speculation the legendary Palestinian leader was poisoned.

The institute said it needs to test Arafat's remains for conclusive findings, and Abbas has said he is willing to allow an autopsy in principle.

Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said Monday that Abbas has now given final approval, and is inviting the Swiss experts to test the remains. Erekat says "we are on the way to an autopsy."

Earlier Monday, Arafat's nephew said he does not believe further testing is needed. It was not clear whether the nephew would block an autopsy.

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