Israeli leaders and the public paid their respects to Shimon Peres, one of the country's dominant political figures, in a lying-in-state ceremony outside the country's parliament.

Carried by a military guard and draped in the blue-and-white Israeli flag with the Star of David, the coffin of the former president was placed in front of the Knesset building on Thursday morning.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin laid wreaths by the coffin as flags above them stood at half-mast.

Peres, who died on Wednesday aged 93 two weeks after suffering a major stroke, was a dominant force in Israeli politics for more than 60 years and won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in talks with the Palestinians that led to the Oslo Accords.

The ceremony was afterwards opened to the public, with thousands of people expected to pass before the coffin until late in the night ahead of a state funeral on Friday. A Knesset representative spoke of some 25,000 people having visited already by the afternoon.

Former US president Bill Clinton, who headed the administration during the Middle East peace efforts of the 1990s, was one of the first Western leaders to reach Jerusalem. He remained silent as he bowed his head during a televised visit to Peres' coffin.

Peres' death sparked a flood of tributes, with US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama saying they would remember him as "the essence of Israel itself."

The funeral at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, the site of Israel's national cemetery, is set to be attended by Western leaders including Obama.

His spokesman said Thursday he admired Peres because he dedicated his life to championing the Israeli people and advocating for peace.

Obama, who will speak at the funeral, will lead a large US delegation that includes members of both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations in a sign of bipartisan support for Israel, spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Other international figures expected to attend the funeral include Britain's Prince Charles, German President Joachim Gauck, French President Francois Hollande and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Some Palestinians did not mourn his passing, blaming him for the collapse of the peace process he had helped to broker along with former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is so far the only major figure from the Arab world whose attendance has been confirmed by Israeli officials. The Palestinian leader plans to attend with a small delegation, including Saeb Erekat, a key member of the negotiation team that dealt with Israel, the Haaretz newspaper reported.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid Al Khalifa was one of few Arab officials offering a reaction to Peres' death on Thursday, tweeting in English that he was a "man of war and peace."

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is expected to attend the funeral.

Police have sealed off streets in the area, and some 8,000 officers were on duty for the two days of events, a spokesman said.

The tense security situation was compounded by the Islamic Hamas movement calling for a "day of rage" on Friday in the West Bank and Jerusalem in remembrance of the one-year anniversary of its latest intifada. The event was not linked to Peres' death, though the extremist group did condemn Abbas for sending a condolence letter.

King Abdullah of Jordan also sent a condolence letter to the Israeli president, recalling Peres' work for peace, according to the official Petra news agency.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.