Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died in 2004, but the cause of death has yet to be determined. Samples were taken from Arafat's corpse on Tuesday; investigators hope to determine whether he was poisoned by spring 2013.
RAMALLAH, West Bank
Palestinians witnessed the funeral of their hero and longtime leader eight years ago, but conspiracy theories surrounding his death have never been laid to rest.
Many are convinced their icon was the victim of assassination by Israeli agents, and may have been poisoned wittingly or unwittingly by a Palestinian. They may remain convinced of that, whatever the outcome of this autopsy.
Arafat's body was uncovered in the grave and samples removed without moving the corpse. The tomb was resealed in hours and wreaths placed by Palestinian leaders including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
The head of the Palestinian investigation committee, Tawfiq Tirawi, said the procedure went smoothly. A Palestinian medical team took samples and gave them to each of the Swiss, French and Russian forensic teams.
"We need proof in order to find those who are behind this assassination and take it to the ICC (International Criminal Court)," he said.
"Israel is occupying our land, and assassinations are not new, they have committed several, publicly and secretly ... what's to stop them from assassinating Abu Ammar (Arafat)?"