Abbas: I know who killed Arafat

Palestinians wave their national flag as they take part in a rally marking the 12th anniversary of the death of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (portrait background) in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 11 November 2016

Abbas: I know who killed Arafat

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said Thursday he knew who killed Yasser Arafat as he marked the 12th anniversary of the former leader’s death but stopped short from giving a name.
Speaking in front of thousands, Abbas said “you ask me who killed him, I know — but my testimony alone is not enough.”
“A commission of inquiry is digging into that, but you’ll find out at the earliest opportunity and be amazed when you know who did it.”
“I do not want to mention names, because these names do not deserve to be remembered,” he added.
Arafat rose to become the leader of the Palestinian movement in the late 1960s, leading an armed struggle against Israel.
He died on Nov. 11, 2004 at a hospital near Paris from unknown causes at the age of 75.
More than a decade after his death, he remains a towering figure in Palestinian culture, politics and society.
The Palestinians have long accused Israel of poisoning him, charges the Israeli government firmly denies.
His body was exhumed in 2012 for tests but a subsequent French investigation found no proof of poisoning.
The Palestinians rejected that report, citing apparent inconsistencies between the French findings and separate ones from Switzerland and Russia that gave currency to alleged poisoning by polonium.
Abbas and his longtime rival Mohammed Dahlan have both accused each other of complicity in Arafat’s death in the past.
Abbas’s comments came with some Arab countries reportedly pressuring the 81-year-old to allow Dahlan, who has been in exile in the United Arab Emirates, to return to the West Bank.
Those moves come amid talk of who will succeed Abbas.
Sources in Abbas’ Fatah movement said Arafat’s death could be discussed at the party’s seventh annual conference, with the commission of inquiry potentially announcing its conclusions.
The conference will be held on Nov. 29.


Let militants return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

In this file photo taken on July 22, 2019 French antiterrorist judge David De Pas poses during a photo session in Paris. (AFP)
Updated 21 October 2019

Let militants return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

  • Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 militants, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape

PARIS: The refusal of the French government to take back Daesh militants from Syria could fuel a new militant recruitment drive in France, threatening public safety, a leading anti-terrorism investigator has told AFP.
David De Pas, coordinator of France’s 12 anti-terrorism examining magistrates, said it would be “better to know that these people are in the care of the judiciary” in France “than let them roam free.”
Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 militants, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape.
Officials in Paris say 60 to 70 French fighters are among those held, with around 200 adults, including militants’ wives, being held in total, along with some 300 children.

SPEEDREAD

France has refused to allow the adults return home, saying they must face local justice. So far Paris has only taken back a handful of children, mostly orphans.

France has refused to allow the adults return home, saying they must face local justice. So far Paris has only taken back a handful of children, mostly orphans.
This week, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Iraq to try convince Baghdad to take in and try French militants being held in northern Syria. On Friday, in a rare interview, De Pas argued that instability in the region and the “porous nature” of the Syrian Kurdish prison camps risked triggering “uncontrolled migration of jihadists to Europe, with the risk of attacks by very ideological people.”
The Turkish offensive, which has detracted the Kurds’ attention from fighting Daesh, could also facilitate the “re-emergence of battle-hardened, determined terrorist groups.”