October 17, 1997 12:00 AM

Leah Rabin, 72, widow of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (who was assassinated in 1995 by an ultra-nationalist Israeli citizen), and the fierce protector of his legacy of peace, died Sunday in Tel Aviv, of cancer. President Clinton said in a statement that he and Hillary Rodham Clinton “have lost a dear friend, and the Middle East has lost a friend of peace. But the work to which she and Yitzhak dedicated their lives must and will continue.”

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