Arafat may be exhumed

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A potentially explosive re-examination of the circumstances behind the death of Yasir Arafat, the symbol of thePalestinian national struggle, has galvanized Palestinian suspicions that he was poisoned and led the Palestinian Authority to agree in principle on Wednesday to an exhumation of his remains, possibly within days.

Mr. Arafat’s widow, Suha, called for the exhumation a day earlier in an interview with Al Jazeera, the Arabic television channel based in Qatar, after it reported that Mr. Arafat might have been poisoned with polonium, a rare radioactive isotope associated with K.G.B.-style assassination intrigues.

Saeb Erekat, a close aide of the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, said by telephone that once the religious authorities and Mr. Arafat’s relatives had given the go-ahead, an exhumation could take place “in the coming days.”

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