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Snow Blankets Eastern Mediterranean: Israel, Palestine, Syria, Cyprus and Lebanon

Snow coated domes and minarets Friday as a record Mideast storm compounded the suffering of Syrian refugees, sent the Israeli army scrambling to dig out stranded motorists and gave Egyptians a rare glimpse of snow in their capital.

An Ultra Orthodox Jewish man walks in the snow a head of Shabat (Saturday), At the Mea Shearim Ultra orthodox jewish neighborhood on December 13, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. Heavy storms continued throughout Israel on Friday, causing traffic disruptions and power outages across the country. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

Ultra orthodox Jews walk in the snow a head of Shabat (Saturday), At the Mea Shearim Ultra orthodox jewish neighborhood on December 13, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. Heavy storms continued throughout Israel on Friday, causing traffic disruptions and power outages across the country. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

An Ultra Orthodox Jewish man walks in the snow a head of Shabat (Saturday), At the Mea Shearim Ultra orthodox jewish neighborhood on December 13, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. Heavy storms continued throughout Israel on Friday, causing traffic disruptions and power outages across the country. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

An Ultra orthodox Jewish woman walks in the snow a head of Shabat (Saturday), At the Mea Shearim Ultra orthodox jewish neighborhood on December 13, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. Heavy storms continued throughout Israel on Friday, causing traffic disruptions and power outages across the country. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

An Ultra orthodox Jewish girl carries pillows as she walks in the snow a head of Shabat (Saturday), in the Mea Shearim Ultra Orthodox Jewish neighborhood on December 13, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. Heavy storms continued throughout Israel on Friday, causing traffic disruptions and power outages across the country. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

A picture shows snow in the Egyptian town of Madinaty, 40 kms east of Cairo, on December 13, 2013. A bruising winter storm brought severe weather to the Middle East, forcing the closure of roads and schools and blanketing already miserable Syrian refugee camps with snow. (Kareem Khirat/AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

A picture shows snow in the Egyptian town of Madinaty, 40 kms east of Cairo, on December 13, 2013. A bruising winter storm brought severe weather to the Middle East, forcing the closure of roads and schools and blanketing already miserable Syrian refugee camps with snow. (AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers help stranded passengers off of an army truck to a temporary shelter after they had to leave their vehicles because of heavy snowfall in Jerusalem December 13, 2013. A snowstorm of rare intensity blanketed the Jerusalem area and parts of the occupied West Bank on Friday, choking off the city and stranding hundreds in vehicles on impassable roads. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
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A woman swims in the pool at the David Citadel Hotel during a snow storm in Jerusalem December 13, 2013. A snowstorm of rare intensity blanketed the Jerusalem area and parts of the occupied West Bank on Friday, choking off the city and stranding hundreds in vehicles on impassable roads. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

Palestinian play and wave the Palestinian flag in the snow near the Damascus gate on December 12, 2013 outside Jerusalem’s old city, Israel. A heavy winter storm hit much of the Middle East yesterday evening into today, forcing the closure of roads and schools while covering widespread areas with snow and ice. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

A view of Jerusalem’s Old City following a snowstorm is seen from the Mount of Olives December 13, 2013. A snowstorm of rare intensity blanketed the Jerusalem area and parts of the occupied West Bank on Friday, choking off the city and stranding hundreds in vehicles on impassable roads. (REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

Two Palestinian women stand in front of the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosques compound during snow fall on the holy city of Jerusalem on December 12, 2013 (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

A boy throws a snowball near Ibrahimi Mosque or the Tomb of the Patriarch, a religious site to both Muslims and Jews, in the West Bank town of Hebron as snow falls on December 12, 2013. (HAZEM BADER / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

People walk near palm trees as snow falls outside Jerusalem’s old city on December 12, 2013. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

Ultra-orthodox Jewish men protect their heads with plastic bags during snowfall in Jerusalem on December 12, 2013. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

An Ultra-orthodox Jewish man uses a public phone as snow falls Jerusalem on December 12, 2013. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

Snow falls over the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosques compound in the old city of Jerusalem on December 12, 2013. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

Israelis build a snowman as they enjoy the snow in Jerusalem on December 12, 2013. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

A woman walks near palm trees as snow falls outside Jerusalem’s old city on December 12, 2013. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

A bulldozer shifts snow near the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the old city of Jerusalem on December 12, 2013. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

A Palestinian man carries a sheep on a farm during snowy weather on Mount Gerizim, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on December 12, 2013. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

A member of the Palestinian ambulance team is helped by a Palestinian man to push an ambulance in the snow in the West Bank town of Hebron on December 12, 2013. (HAZEM BADER / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

Israelis walk in the snow on December 12, 2013 in Jerusalem’s old city, Israel. A heavy winter storm hit much of the Middle East, forcing the closure of roads and schools while covering widespread areas with snow and ice. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

An Israeli man throws a snowball as snow covers the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the backround on December 12, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

Orthodox Jews walk past the Damascus gate on December 12, 2013 outside Jerusalem’s old city, Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

A Palestinian man poses for pictures with his national and the Fatah party flags as he lies in a half-frozen fountain in the West Bank town of Hebron after snow fall on December 12, 2013. (HAZEM BADER / AFP/Getty Images)
Snow Blankets Cairo For First Time In More Than 100 Years, Paralyzes Jerusalem

By Laura King and Batsheva Sobelman
Los Angeles Times
December 13, 2013, 4:28 a.m.

Nearly three feet of snow closed roads in and out of Jerusalem, which is set in high hills, and thousands in and around the city were left without power. Israeli soldiers and police rescued hundreds trapped in their cars by snow and ice. In the West Bank, the branches of olive trees groaned under the weight of snow.

In Cairo, where local news reports said the last recorded snowfall was more than 100 years ago, children in outlying districts capered in white-covered streets, and adults marveled at the sight, tweeting pictures of snow-dusted parks and squares. In other parts of the city, rain and hail rocketed down.

On social media, some joked that the snowfall was the mystical work of Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi, the military strongman who is the focus of something of a cult of personality among his followers. Sisi led the coup five months ago against the highly unpopular but democratically elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi.

Storm-driven waves lashed Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, and fishermen in the ancient port city of Alexandria were warned by authorities against putting out to sea. In the Sinai Peninsula, snow fell on Mt. Sinai and St. Catherine’s monastery at its foot. Sleet washed the dusty fronds of desert palm trees.

The inclement weather worsened the situation for tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, where many live in makeshift camps, abandoned buildings and other temporary sites lacking heat and protection from the elements.

Source: The Baltimore Sun
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