Rare winter storm batters Israel, Lebanon

Jan. 9, 2013 at 10:49 AM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A winter storm packing high winds, heavy rain and snow continued to batter both Israel and Lebanon for the third day in a row Wednesday, forecasters said.

At least four deaths in Lebanon have been blamed on the storm that has triggered widespread power problems, property damage and severe flooding, The (Beirut) Daily Star reported.

In some regions of the country restoration of power was hampered by electricity workers who went on strike to protest bonus and allowance cuts in the latest budget.

South of Beirut emerged as one of the hardest-hit areas as the nearby Ghadir River burst its banks sending floodwaters into densely populated neighborhoods.

In Israel the storm paralyzed cities across the country, causing power outages and forcing the closure of major highways, Haaretz reported.

The Ayalon River near Tel Aviv flooded and police asked drivers to stay out of central Tel Aviv and to avoid driving if possible.

Palestinian rescue workers in the West Bank said the bodies of two women were found after their car was swept away by flooding in Tul Karm.

For Israel, the storm was the biggest in a decade.

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