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Snow falls in Jerusalem, northern Israel

JTA

January 9, 2013 | 9:59 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to the National Traffic Police Headquarter in Beit Dagan near Tel Aviv following an extreme weather situation in the region on Jan. 9. Photo by Daniel Bar On/Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to the National Traffic Police Headquarter in Beit Dagan near Tel Aviv following an extreme weather situation in the region on Jan. 9. Photo by Daniel Bar On/Reuters

Snow and hail began falling in the Jerusalem area and continued to fall in the north of the country.

Areas of the West Bank, including Hebron and Ramallah were also blanketed in snow.

The snow in Jerusalem is expected to accumulate, and residents have been requested to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. Mayor Nir Barkat also called on visitors ready to converge on Jerusalem to witness the rare snowfall to wait until it stopped falling.

Schools in areas throughout the country were closed over fears of dangerous travel due to the snow, continued flooding and loss of electricity.

At least three feet of snow fell on Mount Hermon as snow continued to fall heavily in Israel's north.

Two Palestinian women who were riding in a car swept away by flooding near Nablus on Tuesday night were found dead in Tul Karem on Wednesday morning. The driver of the car was rescued and is hospitalized.

An Israeli man holds ropes as he stands near a car which was swept away during flash floods near Jerusalem on Jan. 9. At least 17 people have died due to a winter storm in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Meteorological agencies in Israel and Lebanon both called it the worst storm in 20 years. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

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