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Arafat died of a stroke, records show

NEW YORK -- Medical records reveal that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of a stroke from a bleeding disorder after he had contracted an unidentified infection, The New York Times reports today.

Arafat died Nov. 11 in a French hospital, but details about his illness have been keep secret and have been the subject of widespread rumors. The Times' review of the records suggests that it was unlikely he had been poisoned or had AIDS. But it does not reveal the specific nature of the infection that prompted Arafat's downward spiral at age 75, even though he had undergone extensive testing.

The records indicate that Arafat did not receive antibiotics until Oct. 27, about two weeks after the onset of his illness in the West Bank. On Oct. 29, he was flown to Paris for medical treatment at Percy Military Training Hospital. His condition rapidly deteriorated.

Upon his death, Arafat's widow, Suha Arafat, and senior Palestinian Authority officials took possession of his medical records.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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