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Music News
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12 September 2005

The hospital records of Yasser Arafat, which have been kept secret since his unexplained death from a massive brain hemorrhage at a French military hospital in November 2004, show that he died from a stroke that resulted from an unidentified infection, according to the first independent reviews of the veteran PLO leader's medical file.

According to a story issued by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), the separate investigations - one by The New York Times and the other by two Israeli news outlets - offered different explanations for the cause of the stroke, deepening the puzzle over Arafat's death, according to the AP.

"The mystery around Yasser Arafat will only grow bigger and bigger after reading this report," said Avi Isacharoff, the Israel Radio reporter who obtained the records with Ha'aretz and then handed them over to the Times in an effort to consult as widely as possible with leading US and Israeli medical experts.

The ICEJ story goes on to say, “Ha'aretz journalist Amos Harel on Thursday (September 8) outlined the three most likely causes of Arafat's death as poisoning, AIDS, or an 'infection', according to the analysis of the report.

“Palestinians have repeatedly blamed Israel for poisoning the 75 year-old PA Chairman, a claim vehemently denied by Israel despite an ambiguous cabinet-level decision to ‘remove’ Arafat mid way through the previous year. But the Times concluded that the failure of a battery of French toxicology tests to find any evidence of poison, alongside Arafat's improved condition and lack of liver damage prior to death, effectively rule it out.

“Meanwhile, widespread references to Arafat's apparent bisexuality from various quarters, including Gay rights groups and Soviet-era intelligence sources, together with evidence of many of the disease's more recognizable symptoms in his final weeks, have added weight to the unconfirmed suspicions of AIDS.”

Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, Arafat's personal physician, said he knows that French doctors found the HIV virus in Arafat's blood, but thought Israel was responsible for infecting the ailing PLO leader.

Prof. Gil Lugassi, president of the Israel Hematologists Association who read the report, said that the symptoms described could be typical of AIDS and was astonished at why a conclusive test was not conducted, especially when the cause of the infection could not be traced.

"What is simply unacceptable and seems very perplexing is the absolute disregard for the possibility of AIDS," Lugassi told the Ha'aretz investigation.

The ICEJ story concluded by saying, “But the Times cited an unidentified Israeli infectious-diseases expert who concluded after studying the records that AIDS was unlikely due to the sudden onset of an intestinal illness.”

According to Ha'aretz, yet another senior Israeli physician gave a different view altogether. "It is a classic case of food poisoning" that should have been countered with antibiotics, he said. But that wasn't done until Arafat was airlifted to France, by which time it was too late.

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