Israel honors war dead on annual Memorial Day

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Photo - Israeli Aliza Amar visits the grave of her brother Kemal Matzliach, who was killed during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war in Sinai, as Israeli soldiers, in the background, salute after placing small Israeli flags on the grave of fallen soldiers at the Kiryat Shaul Military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 4, 2014. Israel will mark the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Sunday until Monday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israeli Aliza Amar visits the grave of her brother Kemal Matzliach, who was killed during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war in Sinai, as Israeli soldiers, in the background, salute after placing small Israeli flags on the grave of fallen soldiers at the Kiryat Shaul Military cemetery in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 4, 2014. Israel will mark the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Sunday until Monday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has opened its annual Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

Sirens wailed Sunday night across Israel, bringing the country to a standstill. Israelis stopped in their tracks at 8:00 p.m. and stood silently for a minute to honor and remember the dead. The main memorial ceremony took place at Jerusalem's Western Wall.

Israel says 23,169 security personnel have been killed since 1860, when Jews began moving back to the area.

The observance marks one of the most somber dates on the Israeli calendar. Places of entertainment shut. Radio and TV air documentaries about wars and soldiers killed. Another siren will sound Monday at 11:00 a.m.

The sad atmosphere ends sharply at sundown. Israelis then joyfully take to the streets for independence day celebrations.

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