WASHINGTON - Daniel Inouye, the longtime Hawaii senator described by pro-Israel groups as one of Israel's best friends in the Senate, has died.

Inouye, 88, and a decorated World War II hero, died Monday of respiratory complications at Walter Reid National Military Medical Center, the Washington Post reported.

"Senator Inouye deeply understood the importance of the US-Israel relationship, and as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, worked tirelessly and effectively to ensure that America’s ally, Israel, had the necessary resources to defend her people," the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said in a statement. "He will be missed by all who appreciated his many decades of leadership in strengthening the ties between America and Israel."

"Our people owe him an immense historic debt," Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, said in a statement. "The Iron Dome system that recently intercepted hundreds of terrorist rockets aimed at our homes stands as enduring proof of his commitment to the defense of the Jewish State."

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