Abbas: I know who killed Arafat

Abbas: I know who killed Arafat
2 min read
10 November, 2016
Video: Palestinian leader claims he knows who was behind the death of his predecessor amid increased pressure from Arab leaders.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday he knew who killed Yasser Arafat, as he marked the 12th anniversary of the former leader's death.

"You ask me who killed him, I know - but my testimony alone is not enough," Abbas said before a rally of thousands in Ramallah.

"A commission of inquiry is digging into that, but you'll find out at the earliest opportunity and be amazed when you know who did it."

"I do not want to mention names, because these names do not deserve to be remembered," he added.

Arafat rose to prominence as the leader of the Palestinian struggle in the later 1960s, when he was part of the armed resistance against Israeli aggression.

He died on November 11, 2004 at a hospital near Paris from unknown causes at the age of 75.

Palestinians have long accused Israel of assassinating him, likely by poisoning, however the Israeli government has denied this.

Arafat's body was exhumed in 2012 for tests, however a French-led investigation found no proof of foul play.

Many Palestinians have rejected the investigation's findings, citing inconsistencies between the French findings and separate results from Switzerland and Russia that indicated that he may have been poisoned with polonium, a highly radioactive metal.

Both Abbas and his longtime rival Mohammed Dahlan have accused one another of complicity in the alleged plot to kill the PA stalwart.

The PA president's comments come amid increased pressure from Arab leaders for Abbas to allow Dahlan to return to the West Bank from exile in the United Arab Emirates.

There is reportedly much talk among Arab leaders about who will succeed the 81-year-old as PA leader, particularly since Abbas has had a few recent health scares.

Last month, Israeli media tipped Arafat's nephew, Nasser al-Kidwa, to become the next Palestinian president. The 63-year-old previously served as Palestinian Foreign Minister and deputy UN-Arab League envoy to Syria. 

Sources in Abbas' Fatah movement said Arafat's death could be discussed at the party's seventh annual conference, with the commission of inquiry potentially announcing its conclusions there.