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TODAY   |  November 07, 2013

Report: Yasser Arafat may have been assassinated

A new report says that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whose remains were exhumed a year ago, may have been assassinated in 2004 by radioactive poisoning. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> he the victim of an assassination nine years ago? nbc correspondent richard engel is here with what some are saying is the new evidence and accusations.

>> good morning. we are still talking about air fast. he was a controversial -- arafat . he was a controversial figure in life and death . there is a new report now that suggests there is proof. a palestinian gorilla fighter, a terrorist to many israelis. a nobel peace laureat. now a report says yasser arafat may have been the victim of assassination.

>> it's a political crime . it's a political assassination of a great leader.

>> reporter: the roof is allegedly in arafat 's bones. his remains exhumed a year ago a. team of swiss scientists in contact with the tv network al jazeera says their findings moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with peloniun 210. arafat 's levels, upwards of 18 times the normal level of the radioactive .son. the scientists says it could have been planted in his food, drink, or toothpaste.

>> anyone that looked at this report had to conclude he had pelonium in his body around the time he died.

>> reporter: it goes back to a turbulent time in 2004 . the peace process had collapsed, israel had just retaken the west bank and arafat was hold up in his ramallah compound. suddenly he fell ill, quickly, palestinian leaders blame israel .

>> now we know when and how. what we need is proof that the israeli occupation is responsible.

>> reporter: israel denied it had any role in killing arafat . it says he was 75, unhealthy, an aging man, not a target. anise real spokesman this morning was dismissive of this study saying israel has been accused of wild things in the middle east . they say how did this radioactive poison get in his body?

>> we will have to wait for this to be answered.