Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will attend the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres on Friday, according to a Palestinian official.
“President Abbas will attend the funeral, along with a number of Palestinian officials,” Mohamed al-Madani, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official, told Anadolu Agency.
According to reports in the Israeli media, Abbas will be accompanied by PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, Palestinian intelligence chief Hussein Majid Faraj, and Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh.
Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, for its part, has slammed Abbas’ decision to attend the funeral.
“Abbas participation at Peres’ funeral makes a mockery of the bloody sacrifices made by the Palestinian people,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abu Zuhri described the late Israeli leader — who passed away Wednesday — as a “war criminal responsible for killing hundreds of innocent people”.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, meanwhile, described Abbas’ decision to attend Friday’s funeral as “regrettable”.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that Egyptian FM Sameh Shukri would attend the event, along with two Jordanian government ministers and an advisor to Morocco’s King Mohamed VI.
According to the ministry, 16 heads of state will attend Friday’s funeral in Jerusalem amid stepped-up security.
Peres passed away early Wednesday at the age of 93, two weeks after suffering a stroke.
Peres was born in modern-day Belarus but moved to British-mandated Palestine in the 1930s. He later joined the Haganah, an armed Jewish gang that carried out numerous attacks on Palestinians after the withdrawal of British forces from Palestine in 1948.
Peres received the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize — along with late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat — for his role in peace talks that later yielded the Oslo Accords.
Peres has been accused of committing numerous crimes in the region, however, including the shelling of the southern Lebanese village of Qana in 1996 — when he was Israel’s prime minister — in which 106 people were killed.