Thursday 26 April 2018

Jerusalem in lockdown after rare snowstorm

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men roll a snowball after a snowstorm at a park during winter in Jerusalem
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men roll a snowball after a snowstorm at a park during winter in Jerusalem
A woman swims in the pool at the David Citadel Hotel during a snow storm in Jerusalem
Ultra-Orthodox Jews visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City during a snowstorm
People build a snowman in front of the Dome of the Rock in the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City
Snow covers the city during a snow storm in Jerusalem
A dog stands in the snow at a park in Jerusalem

A rare snowstorm has blanketed Jerusalem, forcing a lockdown with police blocking access to and from the city.

Citizens have been told not to enter or leave the city. Some 1,500 people were evacuated from stranded vehicles overnight.

Police say three emergency centres have been set up and medics treated 350 people for cold-related symptoms. Mayor Nir Barkat says he asked the military for assistance.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he was briefed on the emergency measures and even visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, a former Massachusetts senator, made a remark about the weather, saying the snow made him feel "at home".

The rest of the region has also been pounded by the wintry weather. Gaza has experienced its first snow in a decade.

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