By Sarah Barchus
The exhumation of Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat's body began Tuesday as part of an investigation into his 2004 death, the Cable News Network reported.
The preparatory operation to remove Arafat from his glass and marble mausoleum in the compound in Ramallahis expected to take up to two weeks, as much of the stone removal is to be done by hand, The New York Times reported.
"It needs to be done meticulously and privately, out of respect for the late president and our religious traditions," an official said, who asked to remain anonymous because she isn't authorized to speak about the exhumation, The New York Times reported.
The exhumation was planned after Arafat's window, Suha Arafat, submitted a formal legal complaint under the suspicion that her husband was murdered, CNN reported.
Arafat became sick in October 2004 and was flown to a French military hospital for treatment. According to medical records he died there two weeks later at the age of 75 from stroke that resulted from a bleeding disorder caused by an infection, The New York Times reported.
Al Jazeera, the Arabic tv channel, reported that Arafat might have died from polonium poisoning, The New York Times reported.
Suha Arafat gave Al Jazeera Arafat's medical records and personal items, which Al Jazeera said they took to Europe for forensic testing, The New York Times reported.
University of Lausanne's Institute of Radiation Physics in Switzerland doctors said they found unusually high levels of polonium 210 and needed to do more testing to determine if it could have played a part Arafat's death, The New York Times reported.
French authorities opened a murder investigation of Arafat's death this year, CNN reported.
Suha Arafat said she asked for the exhumation so investigators could be "100% sure" that polonium was present at the time of Arafat's death, CNN reported.