The body of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will be exhumed on Tuesday as part of a probe into whether he was murdered.
There have long been allegations of foul play in connection with the 75-year-old’s death in 2004.
Arafat had spent two years under seige by Israel at his Ramallah compound when he suddenly fell ill and died.
A French court opened a murder inquiry in August
after a Swiss institute discovered high levels of a radioactive substance on his clothing.
Dr Francois Bochud from the Institute of Radiation Physics hopes a further post-mortem examination will find further traces:
“This time, our sample won’t be taken from clothes, we hope to sample some bones or tissue, if we can find some. The difficulty lies in whether the quantity of polonium will be tiny. In that case, it would be very difficult to confirm whether the amount would be higher than normal.”
But scientists are concerned because eight years is considered the time limit to detect any traces of the deadly radioactive substance.
Palestinian officials say they have evidence which suggests Arafat was “assassinated by Israelis”, something Israel denies.
When he fell ill, Arafat was flown to France for treatment but died in hospital a month later.
His medical report said he died of a stroke resulting from a blood disorder.