Arafat's widow calls his death a mystery

A Palestinian man smokes a water-pipe next to a mural of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in the West Bank town of Jenin, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. Palestinian authorities on Tuesday opened Yasser Arafat's grave and foreign experts took samples from his remains as part of a long-shot attempt to determine whether he was poisoned, as relatives and some political successors have claimed. (AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas)

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — The widow of Yasser Arafat says she sees a spiritual significance in the timing of her late husband's exhumation, which came just two days before a U.N. vote on whether to recognize a Palestinian state.

Suha Arafat told The Associated Press on Thursday at her home in Malta that the exhumation to determine whether Arafat had been poisoned "was as if his soul was resurrecting" ahead of Thursday's vote in the General Assembly.

Mrs. Arafat called the former Palestinian leader's death in November 2004, a month after suddenly falling ill, "the most important mystery of the Middle East."

Arafat's remains were exhumed in the West Bank on Tuesday in a renewed investigation into his death. Palestinian officials claim he was poisoned by Israel, which has denied the allegations.