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Obama arrives in Israel for funeral of Nobel laureate Peres

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WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama arrived in Israel on Friday for the funeral of the last of its founding fathers, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres.

Obama is among leaders from across the world arriving for Peres’s funeral at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl national cemetery, which begins at 9:00 am (0600 GMT).

Security forces were on high alert for the funeral at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl national cemetery, with roads closed and thousands of officers deployed.

Some 70 countries were to be represented, with the range of leaders illustrating the respect Peres gained over the years in his transformation from hawk to committed peace advocate.

His death on Wednesday at the age of 93 led to an outpouring of tributes worldwide for Israel’s last remaining founding father.

An estimated 30,000 people filed past his coffin as he lay in state outside parliament in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Former US president Bill Clinton was among those who paid last respects there, appearing moved as he stood in silence before the coffin.

Clinton had helped usher in the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s, which resulted in the Nobel Peace Prize for Peres.

After Peres‘s death, he called him “a genius with a big heart”.

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