JERUSALEM - Stormy weather that carpeted Jerusalem and much of northern Israel and the Palestinian territories with snow, the first in four years, left two fatalities in its wake on Friday. A light dusting of snow covered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the Western Wall plaza and the alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City, while heavier snowfalls were reported in the Galilee region of northern Israel and the Hebron area of the southern West Bank, where a number of roads were blocked. A seven-year-old Israeli girl who was carried away by a turbulent stream near the West Bank settlement of Modi’in Ilit was pronounced dead after being evacuated to hospital by emergency services.
And a 96-year-old woman, who was being rushed to hospital for resuscitation, died after the ambulance transporting her slid out of control on a wet road not far from the southern city of Sderot and flipped over.
Schools were closed in the worst affected areas, and inter-city bus services were cancelled across parts of the country. Buses in Jerusalem were put on hold from the late morning until the early afternoon, when they resumed service.
More than three metres (10 feet) of snow were recorded on the summit of Mount Hermon in the occupied Golan Heights, where it had been falling since Wednesday.
It was the Holy Land’s first significant snowfall since winter 2008, when there was major disruption across the region.