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Two die as sandstorm envelops Middle East

Two people in Lebanon have died, Lebanon's state media reported.

By Ed Adamczyk
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Two die as sandstorm envelops Middle East
Tourists pull their luggage in a heavy haze from a rare Middle East sandstorm Tuesday outside the Jerusalem's Old City. Israelis and Palestinians woke this morning to yellow skies, exhausting heat and high levels of air pollution as a severe sandstorm that originated in Syria moved into the region. The Environmental Protection Ministry warned against physical activities outdoors and Israeli domestic flights were disrupted. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- A massive sandstorm shrouded the Middle East on Tuesday, moving eastward across parts of Israel, Cyprus, Syria and Turkey, and provoking public health warnings.

Jerusalem was covered by brownish-yellow fog Tuesday. Lebanon's state news agency said two people have died so far, and more than 80 were treated for breathing problems.

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The weather also stopped combat and military helicopter takeoffs in Syria's Hama and Idlib provinces, Syrian state media reported. Dozens of people were hospitalized across the affected region, and the young, pregnant and elderly were advised to stay indoors.

On the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, at least 10 people were hospitalized with breathing difficulties.

The Middle East is engulfed in a sandstorm on Sept. 8, 2015 that is viewable in this screenshot from NASA's Worldview online application. Image courtesy of NASA Worldview.

Meteorologists said the poor visibility and breathing conditions caused by the high concentration of sand particles in the air will dissipate by the end of the week and will be followed by a heat wave.

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Residents of Beirut were advised not to burn trash accumulated on city streets, and Israel's Environmental Protection Ministry ordered schools to keep students indoors Tuesday.

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