Israel begins paying last respects to Shimon Peres

Members of the Israeli Knesset guard carrying the coffin of former Israeli president Shimon Peres at the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, in Jerusalem on Sept 29, 2016.
Members of the Israeli Knesset guard carrying the coffin of former Israeli president Shimon Peres at the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, in Jerusalem on Sept 29, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli leaders and crowds of mourners began paying their last respects on Thursday (Sept 29) to ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres, whose body was lying in state outside parliament.

A solemn ceremony saw President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein and opposition leader Isaac Herzog lay wreaths beside Peres's flag-draped coffin at a plaza outside parliament.

The ceremony was held in silence, with none of the leaders speaking.

Afterwards, beginning at 9am (2pm Singapore), several hundred mourners began making their way into the grounds of parliament to view the coffin after passing through security checks.

Many took photographs as they approached. A cordon kept them around five metres from the coffin.

  • Key attendees at Peres funeral Jerusalem

  • Here is a list of some of the world leaders due to attend the funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres on Friday, according to the Israeli foreign ministry: 

  • - US President Barack Obama 
    - Former US president Bill Clinton 
    - Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean
    - French President Francois Hollande 
    - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 
    - British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson 
    - Spanish King Felipe VI 
    - Britain’s Prince Charles 
    - Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven
    - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte 
    - Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis 
    - Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel 
    - Slovenian President Borut Pahor 
    - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic 
    - Polish President Andrzej Duda 
    - Bulgarian President Rosen Asenov Plevneliev 
    - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic 
    - Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz 
    - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo 
    Source: AFP 

Peres's body is to lie in state until 9pm (2am Singapore) ahead of Friday's funeral to be attended by world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, former US president Bill Clinton, French President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gauck as well as Britain's Prince Charles.

A major security operation is being put in place ahead of the funeral at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl national cemetery.

Peres died on Wednesday aged 93 after suffering a major stroke.

In a career spanning seven decades, he held nearly every major office, serving twice as prime minister and as president from 2007 to 2014.

He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for his role in negotiating the Oslo accords, which envisioned an independent Palestinian state.

 

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