Yasser Arafat's personal bodyguard said the Palestinian leader did not die as a result of poison injected in his food.
"We all ate what he ate," 47-year-old Imad Abu Zaki told the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat in an interview published Sunday, a few days after the sixth anniversary of Arafat's death.
The bodyguard, who accompanied Arafat from 1988 until his death at a military hospital in France on November 11, 2004, said, "It is widely assumed that he was poisoned, but not with the use of food, because we ate together with the Rais. We would eat from the same food 45 minutes before he did.
"Once, a foreign guest brought the Rais a box of chocolates. He (guest) took out a piece of chocolate and served it to the Rais. I immediately took the box and handed the pieces of chocolate to all the bodyguards who were present. I did the same with all boxes of chocolate, sweets or any other foods we received as gifts – we all shared the food and gave it out to the bodyguards," he recalled.
However, Abu Zaki did not rule out the possibility that Arafat was poisoned. "It is safe to assume that he was poisoned, but not with food," the bodyguard said in the interview.
Medical reports did not corroborate the Palestinians' claim that Arafat was poisoned. An inquiry committee set up by the Palestinian Authority could not determine that the Rais was poisoned either.
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