World leaders among thousands attending funeral of Israel's Peres

Leaders from across the world were in Jerusalem on Friday for the funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Peres' coffin arrived at Mount Herzl from the Knesset building as people began taking their seats at the city's national cemetery before the ceremony and eulogies were set to start.

Jewish dirges and the Kaddish prayer were sung as an honour guard placed the coffin in a black vehicle for the short drive.

About 3,000 people were expected at the burial, family members said.

US President Barack Obama arrived Friday for the funeral, with Air Force One landing at the international airport in Tel Aviv.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a delegation of the Palestinian Authority arrived from Ramallah after receiving permission from the Israeli authorities.

Former US president Bill Clinton, who headed the administration during the Middle East peace efforts of the 1990s, was present. Other leaders scheduled to attend the funeral include German President Joachim Gauck, French President Francois Hollande and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said 20 presidents and 15 foreign ministers were set to be there.

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

Peres' coffin was placed in front of the parliament building on Thursday for a lying-in-state ceremony that began with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin laying wreaths before the public was allowed to visit late into the night.

Tens of thousands of people queued for their chance to bid farewell.

A shiva, or Jewish mourning ceremony, is also scheduled to begin Friday in Tel Aviv at the Peres Centre for Peace, with a break for shabbat, ending hours before the Jewish New Year on Sunday.

Last update: Fri, 30/09/2016 - 10:57
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