By Julie Stahl
CNSNews.com Jerusalem Bureau Chief
July 13, 2007
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Former Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat died of AIDS, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command Ahmed Jibril said.
In an interview on Hizballah's Al-Manar television last week, Jibril said that P.A. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] had told him that Arafat died of AIDS, according to a translation provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
"When Abu Mazen came to Damascus with his team, I asked them: 'What happened to the investigation into the death of Abu Amar [Arafat's nom de guerre]? The Israelis killed him. He was my colleague ever since 1965 and used to sleep at my home. He and I followed the same path,'" Jibril said.
"They were silent, and then one of them said to me: 'To be honest, the French gave us the medical report, that stated that the cause of Abu Ammar's death was AIDS.' I am not saying this, they did."
The 75-year-old Arafat died in a French hospital in 2004 after being penned up in his Ramallah office compound for two years, under virtual house arrest by the Israeli army as the Palestinian terrorist uprising raged against Israel.
At the time of Arafat's death, his wife Suha, 41, who had been living in Paris for years, was the only one who had access to his medical records and she refused to tell anyone the cause of death.
His illness was described as "a serious inflammation of the stomach and intestines" that had led to a deterioration in his blood composition and platelets.
Speculation over Arafat's ailment has ranged from AIDS to syphilis to poisoning by Israel.
Over the years, there has been recurring speculation that Arafat was homosexual. The secret service of Nicolae Ceausescu's Romania claimed at one point to have caught Arafat's sexual escapades with a male bodyguard on tape, after it bugged a guest suite in which he was staying.
But Arafat's private physician said tests showed the PLO leader did not have AIDS.
Eventually, Palestinian leaders were given access to Arafat's medical records, but they never made the cause of death public.
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