Palestinian officials to investigate circumstances of Arafat's death

The Palestinian parliament decided Wednesday to appoint a committee of lawmakers to investigate what killed longtime leader Yasser Arafat, alleging Israel involvement. The French hospital that treated Arafat, 75, in the weeks before he died on Nov. 11 has not presented a clear picture of what killed him. His wife, Suha, refused an autopsy, and a Palestinian government committee set up months ago to investigate the circumstances of his death has not yet submitted a report.

Since Arafat's death, rumors have swirled throughout the Middle East that Arafat died from either AIDS or poisoning. Many Palestinian officials insist that Israeli agents somehow poisoned him, a charge Israel denies.

Arafat's medical records, obtained recently by two Israeli journalists who shared them with The Associated Press, cast doubt on these conspiracy theories. French doctors who treated Arafat at Percy Military Hospital concluded he died of a "massive brain hemorrhage" after suffering intestinal inflammation, jaundice and a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC. But the records are inconclusive about what brought about DIC, which has numerous causes ranging from infections to colitis to liver disease. The hospital's director, Dr. Jean-Paul Burlaton, refused at the time to discuss Arafat's medical records. AM

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