JERUSALEM, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) — Shimon Peres' casket was laid outside Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as Israel's leaders and public mourners on Thursday start to pay their last respects to the 93-year-old statesman.
Peres, Israel's former president and prime minister, died early on Wednesday morning in a hospital near Tel Aviv after spending two weeks in induced coma following a stroke.
The event Thursday started with a wreath-laying ceremony, as President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Speaker of the Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein put wreaths near the coffin.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said that Road 1, which connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and many roads in Jerusalem will be closed to traffic as hundreds of world leaders are expected to arrive ahead of the funeral, which will be held on Friday.
Police said in a statement that securing the event would by the "largest" operation of its kind in the history of the nation.
According to the foreign ministry, the list of foreign dignitaries attending the funeral includes U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande, Britain's Prince Charles, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.
Peres served as Israel's ninth president between 2007 and 2014.
In 1994, he won the Nobel Prize for peace for his role in signing the short-lived peace deal with the Palestinians in 1993.
His nearly 70-year political career covered almost every significant office — he served twice as prime minister. He also served as foreign minister, defense minister, finance minister, chairman of the Labor Party, and leader of the opposition in the parliament.
In 1985, as a prime minister of a unity government with the right-wing Likud party, he led the "Economic Stabilization Plan." The plan, which included an austerity budget and radical reforms, marked the transition of the country from a predominantly social-democratic economy to neoliberal-capitalist market.
He founded Israel's nuclear program and played a vital role in establishing the country's military and aviation industries and set paths for exporting Israeli weapons and security equipment throughout the world.