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Friday, 28 January, 2000, 18:50 GMT
Snow brings chaos to Holy Land

Al-Aqsa mosque Many people struggled to attend Friday's prayers


Israelis and Palestinians are digging in for what is predicted to be several days of severe weather, after the Holy Land was hit by the heaviest snowstorm for 50 years.

At least 30cm (12in) of snow has fallen on Jerusalem, closing roads and cutting off cities across Israel and the Palestinian territories and crippling daily life from Galilee to Gaza.

Dome of the Rock Dome of the Rock: Holy sites were dusted in snow
In the east of the city, one Palestinian was killed and another injured, when the roof of their home caved in under the weight of the snow.

Supplies

Jerusalem's holy sites - Islam's golden Dome of the Rock, Judaism's Wailing Wall and Christianity's Church of the Holy Sepulchre - were dusted with snow, which fell steadily from Thursday afternoon.

Residents, caught unprepared, played in the deserted streets or trudged through snow-bound avenues with supplies to last them for the days ahead.

Weather forecasters have predicted more snow and plummeting temperatures.

Bulldozers were used to clear main streets in Jerusalem and many people struggled to attend Friday prayers.

Wailing Wall A woman stands by the Wailing Wall as snow starts to fall
The Israeli army was called in to help hundreds of stranded drivers on the road from Jerusalem to Hebron - where a state of emergency had been declared ahead of the storm.

Lebanon storms

Around Hebron - which is under Palestinian control - 40in (1 metre) of snow fell on the highest points.

In neighbouring Jordan, blizzards also brought traffic to a standstill, with reports of a number of deaths and injuries from traffic accidents.

Lebanon was battered by strong storms, closing schools and trapping residents of villages high in the snow-capped mountains.

Meteorologist Uri Batz told Israel Radio it had been 50 years since so much snow had hit Israel's Negev Desert areas as far south as Beersheba, where 4cm (1.6in) fell
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