Israel Radio: Shimon Peres, 93, dies in Tel Aviv

by Reuters |

(REUTERS/Jean-Marc Loos/Files)Israel's President Shimon Peres attends a press conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, in this March 12, 2013 file photo.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Former Israeli president and elder statesman Shimon Peres has died in Tel Aviv, Israel Radio said Wednesday.

Peres, 93, was hospitalised following a stroke two weeks ago and had made some progress before a sudden deterioration in his condition Tuesday.

An official announcement of the death of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former prime minister was expected at around 7 a.m. local time (04:00 GMT). Details of the timing of the funeral were also expected.

Peres was part of almost every major development in Israel since the country's founding in 1948. In a career spanning nearly 70 years, he served in a dozen cabinets and was twice a Labour prime minister.

He shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with the late former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for reaching an interim peace deal in 1993 which never turned into a lasting treaty.

Rabin was assassinated in 1995 by an Israeli ultra-nationalist who opposed the interim accords, and it was Peres who took over as prime minister after Rabin's death.

Peres is widely seen as having gained nuclear capabilities for Israel by procuring the secret Dimona reactor from France while defence ministry director-general in the 1950s. And as defence minister oversaw the 1976 Israeli rescue of hijacked Israelis at Entebbe airport in Uganda. Current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's brother, Yoni, was killed in the raid.

Peres held the largely ceremonial post of president from 2007-2014 and used the pulpit to continue to advocate peace.

Earlier in September, after a series of health scares including a mild heart attack, Peres received an artificial pacemaker.

* Writing by Ori Lewis.