The Latest: Trump sends best wishes on Israeli independence

Israeli soldiers stand in formation as a siren sounds to mark the annual Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Small items placed on the gravestone of Israeli police officer Anton Solimiko at Kiryat Shaul military cemetery on the eve of memorial Day in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israeli soldiers visit in Kiryat Shaul military cemetery on the eve of memorial Day, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
A portrait of Israeli soldier Cpl. Sergey Rubinstein Pukyev placed on his grave at Kiryat Shaul military cemetery on the eve of memorial Day in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israeli soldiers stand in formation as a siren sounds to mark the annual Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Israelis attend a ceremony marking Israel's annual Memorial Day for fallen soldiers, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israelis observe a minute of silence as a siren is heard during a ceremony marking Israel's annual Memorial Day for fallen soldiers, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israeli soldiers stand in formation during a ceremony to mark the annual Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Family members of Israeli soldier Soli Mizrahi repaint his gravestone at Kiryat Shaul military cemetery on the eve of memorial Day in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Israel marks the annual Memorial Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in the nation's conflicts, beginning at dusk Tuesday until Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Israeli soldiers stand in formation as a siren sounds to mark the annual Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

JERUSALEM — The Latest on developments related to Israel's Memorial Day (all times local):

8:25

President Donald Trump is sending his best wishes to the Israeli people and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the nation marks 70 years of independence.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that "We have no better friends anywhere." Trump was in Florida playing hosting to the prime minister of Japan.

The president added that he was looking forward to moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem next month.

Trump overturned decades of U.S. policy last year by announcing the U.S. would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The controversial step has infuriated the Palestinians, who claim part of Jerusalem for the capital of a future state and have now rejected U.S. mediation in efforts to resume long-stalled peace talks with Israel.

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5:50 p.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a veiled warning to Iran, saying his country will defend itself against anyone that tries to harm it.

The premier's remarks at a Memorial Day ceremony on Wednesday come amid rising tensions between Israel and Iran over an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria last week that left at least four Iranian military personnel dead.

On Wednesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for "offensive plans against the enemy," without specifically naming Israel.

Netanyahu says Israel will stand firm against "continued incitement by our neighbors, a great many of whom refuse to come to terms with our existence," and cautions that "anyone who raises a hand against us won't be spared."

The Israeli prime minister delivered the remarks hours before Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary.

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11:15 a.m.

Israelis have come to a two-minute standstill to remember fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism as the country marks Memorial Day, one of the most somber days on its calendar.

Motorists pulled over on the sides of highways and roads, and pedestrians stopped in their tracks as a siren rang out at 11 a.m. Wednesday. A minute of silence was similarly observed on Tuesday evening.

Israelis are visiting cemeteries and attending remembrance ceremonies. Radio and television networks broadcast programs about battle and loss.

The melancholic atmosphere is to end abruptly at sundown, when Israel's 70th Independence Day celebrations start.

Israel has fought half a dozen wars with Arab countries since its establishment in 1948, battled two Palestinian uprisings and endured dozens of deadly militant attacks.

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