Israel has begun its annual Memorial Day commemoration for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

Sirens wailed Tuesday night across Israel, bringing the country to a standstill. Israelis stopped in their tracks at 8 p.m. and stood silently for a minute to honor and remember the dead.

It's one of the most somber dates on the Israeli calendar. Places of entertainment shut down. Radio and TV stations air documentaries about wars.

The melancholic atmosphere ends sharply at sundown Wednesday when independence day celebrations begin.

The country is marking Memorial Day amid an eight month-long wave of Palestinian violence that has killed 28 Israelis and two Americans. About 200 Palestinians have been killed, most said by Israel to have been attackers while the rest were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.