Stormy weather hits Israel, Palestinians

2013-01-07 17:56
A vehicle drives through flood waters in the Mediterranean coastal city of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv. (Jack Guez, AFP)

A vehicle drives through flood waters in the Mediterranean coastal city of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv. (Jack Guez, AFP)

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Jerusalem - Stormy weather, high winds and heavy rainfall, lashed Israel and the Palestinian territories on Monday, downing power lines and trees and causing several injuries.

"The storms injured six people, most of whom were lightly hurt when trees were knocked over," Israeli police spokesperson Luba Samri told AFP.

Israeli military radio said winds were gusting at speeds of up to 120km/h and in neighbourhoods across Jerusalem, the results were clear.

Trees were toppled at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif complex that houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques, and branches were strewn in streets across the city.

Electricity outages caused by downed power lines were reported throughout the country.

Israel's meteorological service says this winter will be the wettest in the past decade, and with temperatures expected to plunge in coming days, much of the country could see snow this week.

The stormy weather came as Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land celebrated Christmas on Monday.

In the Gaza Strip, "civil protection teams responded to a number of incidents, among them the collapse of shop signs, roads blocked by falling trees and metal awnings blown away," the civil protection service said.

In the West Bank, civil protection spokesperson Louai Bani Odeh said no injuries had been reported so far.

He told AFP that an electrical fire started by flooding broke out in a house in a village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, but was brought under control without injuring anyone.

"Many roads in towns and villages across the West Bank are flooded. Some of them are blocked by trees and billboards that were knocked over. Many shops are closed," he said.

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