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President Obama to join world leaders at Shimon Peres funeral

Bill Clinton, Francois Hollande and Prince Charles are among others attending Peres’ Friday funeral

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US President Barack Obama will join other world leaders in attending the funeral of Israeli ex-president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, the White House said Wednesday.

Obama, who ordered US flags at half-staff late Wednesday, “will lead the US delegation to Jerusalem to participate in the funeral,” the White House said. He is to depart for Israel Thursday and return after the ceremony on Friday.

The US president led tributes to the elder statesman as a friend who refused to give up on the dream of peace. Peres’ commitment to Israel’s security and pursuit of peace was “rooted in his own unshakeable moral foundation and unflagging optimism”, the US leader said in a statement.

Obama is to join world leaders including former US president Bill Clinton, French President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gauck as well as Britain’s Prince Charles in attending Peres’ Friday funeral at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, where many Israeli dignitaries are buried.

Flags at the White House, on all public buildings and grounds, and at US buildings overseas will be flown at half-staff through sunset Friday “as a mark of respect for the memory of Shimon Peres,” the White House said in a statement.