You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens
    A leading virologist who risked his own life to treat dozens of Ebola patients died Tuesday from the disease, officials said, as a major regional airline announced it was suspending flights to the cities hardest hit by an outbreak that
  • Shelling adds to mounting civilian toll in Ukraine
    Shelling in at least three cities in eastern Ukraine has hit a home for the elderly, a school and multiple homes, adding to a rapidly growing civilian death toll Tuesday.
  • Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
    Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the militant group’s control in Gaza and firing tank shells that Palestinian officials said shut down the strip’s only power plant in the
Advertisement
Associated Press
Snow blankets the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock, Jewish and Muslim holy sites, on Friday in Jerusalem.

Rare storm throws Mideast into disorder

– A powerful winter storm left Jerusalem covered in snow Friday, forcing police to block access to and from the city as a cold snap drove some Israelis to seek treatment from emergency medics.

In Egypt, rare snow fell in Cairo’s suburbs, the port city of Alexandria and Mount Sinai.

In Syria’s contested northern city of Aleppo, soldiers and rebels took a break from fighting as a thick layer of snow blanketed deserted streets, cars and buildings in near-zero temperatures.

An anti-government activist said that since the storm’s onset late Tuesday, it has been quieter there than in more than a year.

“All the fighters are cold and hiding,” said the activist, who uses the pseudonym Abu Raed.

He said residents in the city were relying on diesel or wood heaters, although some had only blankets. Snow also fell in Damascus but was quickly washed away by the rain.

The weather also delayed, for the second day, an airlift of urgently needed food aid for displaced families in Qamishli in northeast Syria, according to the United Nations’ World Food Program.

As soon as the Qamishli airport opens, WFP will start airlifting more than 400 tons of food from Erbil, Iraq.

Humanitarian agencies opted for the air route because fighting has made roads leading to northeast Syria unsafe for convoys.

The storm, dubbed Alexa, has been pounding much of Lebanon and parts of northern Syria since Wednesday, pushing temperatures below zero in mountainous areas and dumping snow and heavy rains.

The snow has heaped another layer of misery on the already-grim existence of more than 2 million Syrians who have fled the civil war raging in their homeland.

In Lebanon, snow fell on northern and eastern regions where tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are staying, many of them in flimsy plastic tents.

A Lebanese security official said a 3-month-old Syrian baby died Friday in the northern town of Akroum. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the newborn had respiratory problems that may have been aggravated by the cold spell.

Syrian refugees struggled to keep tents in place and gathered sticks of wood from nearby fields to use for heating. Families crammed into damp, muddy tents struggled to keep warm.

In some cases, Syrian children came out of their tents to play with the snow.

Israelis were told over media and public broadcasts Friday not to enter or leave Jerusalem, and about 1,500 people were evacuated from stranded vehicles overnight, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Three emergency centers were set up, and medics treated 350 people for cold-related symptoms, he said.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he asked the military for assistance. Several highways and main roads around Jerusalem were closed.

Advertisement