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Former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres dedicated his life to his country and pursuing peace. The 93-year-old died two weeks after suffering a stroke.
USA TODAY NETWORK

JERUSALEM — Dignitaries from 80 nations, including President Obama, gathered Friday for the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres under extremely tight security.

Also paying last respects to Peres will be former president Bill Clinton and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Har Herzl national cemetery, where many of Israel’s former leaders are buried.

Peres will be buried between former prime ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin, with whom he shared a Nobel Peace Prize.

The cemetery overlooks Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial and museum.

Obama and Clinton are expected to speak during the ceremony, as requested by the Peres family, reflecting the warm ties he had with the U.S. presidents.

An estimated 50,000 people paid their respects Thursday to Peres, who had a 55-year political career, as his body lay in state at the nation’s parliament. Considered the last of Israel’s founding fathers, Peres died Wednesday after suffering a stroke two weeks ago. He was 93.

His transformation from political hawk to peace-seeker earned him a 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for the negotiations leading to the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Peace Accords.

At least 7,500 police and paramilitary police have been deployed for the two-day memorial that began Thursday.

Israel Police Chief Roni Alsheich said police had arrested several Jewish and Arab extremists who, they believed, might pose a threat to the visiting dignitaries. He called the arrests “preventative.”

Alsheich said the security logistics of transporting dignitaries and the funeral “are very complex and in many ways unprecedented, compared to what the police have accomplished in the past. It’s a huge challenge in regards to security, traffic, public order.”

For security, much of Jerusalem will be closed to traffic Friday, the day Jewish Israelis prepare for the Sabbath that begins at sundown. Several schools around the city decided not to open.