Abbas defies Hamas as Peres goes home

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Funeral of Israeli former Prime Minister Shimmon Peres. Source: BBC
Funeral of Israeli former Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Source: BBC

The funeral for the late Israeli leader Shimon Peres is under way in Jerusalem with a high number of dignitaries on ground to pay their last respect.

Some of those who have already been spotted include US President Barack Obama and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, according to  the BBC .

Mahmoud Abbas led a delegation of senior Palestinian officials in his first visit to Israel since 2010, defying the warning of Hamas, a hardline Palestinian group not to attend the funeral of the “criminal” Shimon Peres”.

As a negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Mr Abbas was one of the people who signed the Oslo peace accords in 1993, for which Mr Peres won a Nobel Peace Prize the year after, along with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin.

Mr Peres, one of the country’s founding fathers, died on Wednesday aged 93.

In his funeral eulogy, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described him as “a great man of the world”,.

Ahead of the funeral,  Israeli police made several arrests as a huge security operation swung into action.

Police chief Roni Alsheikh said preventative arrests were carried out on Arab and Jewish suspects who it was feared might disrupt the ceremony.

Alsheikh told reporters that there were no specific threats to the funeral but police were prepared for any incident.

“We are dealing with an operation on an unprecedented scale,” he said.

 

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