Obama wraps up Israel visit with symbolic stops

JERUSALEM (AP) - President Barack Obama is wrapping up a three-day visit to Israel by paying his respects to heroes of the Jewish state and victims of the Holocaust as well as touring the Biblical birthplace of Jesus Christ.

Mr Obama was laying wreaths at the graves of Mr Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism who died in 1904 before realising his dream of a Jewish homeland, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995.

Mr Obama will then visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial before touring the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

The stops are a culmination of the main portion of the president's Middle east trip during which he has vowed unwavering support for Israel and appealed for new peace talks with the Palestinians. He next travels to Jordan.