• Holy Land hit by heaviest snowfall in decades

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    JERUSALEM: The heaviest snowfall in decades blocked roads across Israel and the West Bank on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), while torrential rains flooded areas of the Gaza Strip.

    The heavy snow, which stopped falling on Saturday afternoon, prompted Israeli authorities to interrupt the Jewish sabbath to lay on relief trains.

    Nationwide, some 30,000 households were without electricity, nearly 9,000 of them in Jerusalem, the Israel Electric Corp said.

    Jerusalem city workers managed to clear most roads of drifting snow but appealed to residents to stay at home as fallen trees posed a persistent traffic hazard.

    Few had ventured out, apart from observant Jews walking to synagogues.

    The two main highways into the city, which climb to around 795 meters above sea level, remained closed in both directions for a third straight day.

    Jerusalem-based meteorologist Boaz Nechemia said that between 45 and 60 centimeters of snow had accumulated in the Holy City by Saturday.

    “We haven’t had such a snowfall in some 70 years,” he said, noting that a metre of snow fell on Jerusalem in 1920.

    AFP

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