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The Latest: Bill Clinton, Netanyahu meet in Jerusalem

Members of the Knesset guard carry the coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, in Jerusalem, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. Peres died early Wednesday from complications from a stroke. He was 93. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
September 29, 2016 - 12:19 PM

JERUSALEM - The Latest on funeral preparations and a nation in mourning at the death of Israel's ninth President, Shimon Peres (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with former U.S. President Bill Clinton ahead of the funeral for former Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Netanyahu said it was a warm meeting and that Clinton signed a guest book Thursday night. He did not elaborate.

Earlier in the day Clinton joined thousands of mourners paying respects outside Israel's parliament building in Jerusalem where Peres' casket lay in state.

Clinton is among dozens of world leaders and dignitaries attending Peres' funeral on Friday.

It is expected to be the largest such gathering in Israel since the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by a Jewish nationalist in 1995.

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9:30 p.m.

President Barack Obama will be among the world leaders who will speak at the funeral for former Israeli President Shimon Peres.

The White House says Obama's speechwriters are working on his remarks. Obama departs Washington on Thursday afternoon, in time to be in Jerusalem by Friday morning for the funeral.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the U.S. delegation will also include members of Congress from both political parties. U.S. national security officials also plan to attend. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, says he's travelling with Obama to the funeral.

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9:15 p.m.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza is urging Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to boycott the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on Thursday said Abbas should "retract his decision to participate in the funeral of the criminal Shimon Peres."

Palestinians have been split since 2007 when Hamas gunmen ousted forces loyal to Palestinian president Abbas from Gaza in bloody street battles. Repeated attempts at reconciliation have failed.

A senior Palestinian official earlier confirmed Abbas is attending the ceremony on Friday.

He said Abbas wanted to "send a strong message to Israeli society that the Palestinians are for peace, and appreciate the efforts of peaceful men like Shimon Peres."

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8 p.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon remembers Shimon Peres as constant source of optimism and hope.

Speaking at a U.N. ceremony, sponsored by the Israeli mission to honour Peres' memory on Thursday, Ban said he would miss Peres' "clear-eyed perspective — of reaching across the table, of compromising with your neighbour, of finding common ground for the greater good."

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power remembered Peres as "a believer in and a builder of peace."

"His vision of what was necessary to build peace was clear and unwavering; Israel's security, of course, which he did as much as anyone to strengthen, and Israel's diplomacy, of which he was a maestro," Power said in her remarks.

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5:15 p.m.

The office of Israel's Prime Minister says Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned Benjamin Netanyahu to express his condolences over the passing of former President Shimon Peres.

It said that Putin expressed his "great appreciation" for Peres in his call on Thursday. Putin told Netanyahu he views the friendship between Russia and Israel "with great importance," it said.

Putin's well wishes were among a large outpouring of condolences to Israel over Peres' passing this week of complications following a stroke.

Dozens of world leaders are flying to Israel to attend Peres' funeral in Jerusalem on Friday.

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4:45 p.m.

Jordan's King Abdullah II has sent his condolences to Israel over the passing of former President Shimon Peres.

A senior Jordanian minister, Jawad Anani, will represent Amman at the funeral on Friday.

The King wrote in a telegram to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday that Peres' "contributions toward achieving peace and security in the region are more relevant than ever before."

The King said that "it is vital that the voices of reason prevail and the advocates of peace continue to lead the way."

Israel and neighbouring Jordan signed a peace deal in 1994.

Peres' death on Wednesday was mostly greeted with official silence across the Arab world — in sharp contrast to the emotional tributes that poured in from the West.

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4:00 p.m.

When former Israeli President Shimon Peres is buried, a part of him will be left behind: his corneas.

Peres' personal physician and son-in-law Dr. Rafi Walden said Thursday that Peres signed an organ donor card.

Peres died early Wednesday of complications following a stroke. He was 93.

"At his age, other organs are not relevant for donation," Walden says.

Dvora Szerer, a spokeswoman for the National Transplant Center that manages organ donation in Israel, says older corneas are primarily used as temporary solutions in emergencies, or used in operations to treat glaucoma. In a statement, she wrote that Peres advocated organ donation when he served as Israel's president.

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3:17 p.m.

A senior Palestinian official says President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to attend Shimon Peres' funeral on Friday.

The official says Abbas will lead a delegation of top Palestinian officials, including his chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

The official says Abbas wanted to "send a strong message to Israeli society that the Palestinians are for peace, and appreciate the efforts of peaceful men like Shimon Peres."

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment to the media.

__Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank

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1:25 p.m.

The son-in-law and personal physician of Shimon Peres says the former Israeli president left behind detailed plans for his funeral.

Dr. Rafi Walden says Peres requested that his three children speak, along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, a foreign dignitary and an Israeli cultural figure.

Walden said Thursday that Peres also requested local singer David D'or sing at his funeral. Walden predicted the song would be the prayer "Avinu Malkeinu," or "Our Father Our King."

Jews sing the prayer on the Day of Atonement, which falls this year in mid-October.

Peres loved the song. Barbra Streisand sang it to him at a gala marking his 90th birthday.

Peres died early Wednesday of complications following a stroke. He was 93. Thousands of people are expected to attend his funeral Friday in Jerusalem.

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1:00 p.m.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has joined thousands of mourners paying respects to the late Shimon Peres outside Israel's parliament building in Jerusalem.

Thousands of people were visiting the site on Thursday, where Peres' casket lay in state ahead of his funeral in Jerusalem on Friday.

Israeli police say 8,000 police officers have been deployed to maintain order during the mourning period.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Thursday that officers will also monitor social media for potential attackers.

Scores of foreign leaders, including President Barack Obama, are expected at the funeral Friday at Israel's national cemetery in Jerusalem.

It is expected to be the largest such gathering in Israel since the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by a Jewish nationalist in 1995.

Peres died Wednesday from complications following a stroke. He was 93.

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12:55 p.m.

European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker have sent a letter of condolence to Israel's President Reuven Rivlin following the death of the country's ninth President Shimon Peres.

In their letter released Thursday, the two call Peres "a champion of peace" who forged "close ties of friendship and co-operation between Israel and other parts of the world, including Europe."

Peres died Wednesday following a stroke. He was 93.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, French President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gauck are among scores of world leaders, including U.S President Barack Obama, attending Peres' funeral Friday in Jerusalem.

Peres shared a Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for attempting to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since then, the peace process has collapsed. European leaders frequently criticize Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

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10:50 a.m.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has landed in Tel Aviv to attend the funeral of Israel's ninth President Shimon Peres.

Peres died early Wednesday after suffering a stroke. He was 93.

Clinton and his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, have said they lost "a true and treasured friend" in Peres.

Peres' office said Thursday Clinton will go directly to Israel's parliament. There, Israelis are lining up to pay their respects at Peres' casket, draped in an Israeli flag.

Clinton was president when Peres helped negotiate a historic interim peace agreement with the Palestinians in 1993. The following year, Peres shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Scores of world leaders are expected to attend Peres' funeral Friday in Jerusalem.

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10:30 a.m.

The foreign minister of Bahrain has issued a tribute to Israel's ninth President Shimon Peres, a rarity for an Arab leader.

Khalid al-Khalifa tweets Thursday, "Rest in peace President Shimon Peres, a man of war and a man of the still elusive peace in the Middle East."

Although Peres is hailed as a man of peace, Arab leaders have greeted his death mostly with silence. The hostility is colored by Peres' role in building his country's defence arsenal, supporting Israeli settlements in the West Bank and waging war in Lebanon.

Still, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has lauded Peres for reaching a "peace of the brave" with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Israel's foreign ministry says an adviser to Morocco's king will attend Peres' funeral.

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9:00 a.m.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin are laying wreaths on the casket of Shimon Peres in the plaza of Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

Peres died early Wednesday of complications following a stroke. He was 93.

His casket, draped in a blue and white Israeli flag, will remain at the Knesset throughout Thursday for Israelis to pay their respects.

Scores of world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, will attend the funeral Friday in Jerusalem.

Over his seven-decade political career, Peres held nearly every post in Israel's government, including two terms as prime minister. He transformed from a hawk to a Nobel Prize-winning advocate of reconciliation with Palestinians. As Israel's president, he cultivated admiration for his youthful optimism.

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8:45 a.m.

The body of Israel's ninth President Shimon Peres is lying in state in the plaza of the Knesset, Israel's parliament.

Peres died Wednesday from complications following a stroke. He was 93.

Israelis will pay their respects throughout Thursday.

President Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and French President Francois Hollande are among scores of world leaders who will attend the funeral in the country's national cemetery in Jerusalem Friday. It is expected to be the largest such gathering in Israel since the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by a Jewish nationalist in 1995.

Peres served twice as Israel's prime minister. Over his seven-decade political career, he transformed from a hawk to a Nobel Prize-winning advocate of reconciliation with Palestinians. As Israel's president, he cultivated admiration for his youthful optimism.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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