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Middle East is battered by deadly winter storm

 Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron played in snow on Wednesday as the fiercest winter storm to hit the Middle East in years caused eight deaths and widespread disruption in the region.

ABED AL HASHLAMOUN /EPA

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron played in snow on Wednesday as the fiercest winter storm to hit the Middle East in years caused eight deaths and widespread disruption in the region.

AMMAN, Jordan — The fiercest winter storm to hit the Middle East in years brought a rare foot of snow to Jordan on Wednesday, caused fatal accidents in Lebanon and the West Bank, and disrupted traffic on the Suez Canal in Egypt. At least eight people died across the region.

In Lebanon, the Red Cross said storm-related accidents killed six people over the past two days. Several drowned after slipping into rivers from flooded roads, one person froze to death, and another died after his car went off a slippery road, an official said.

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In the West Bank town of Ramallah, a Palestinian official said two West Bank women drowned after their car was caught in a flash flood on Tuesday. An official said the women abandoned their vehicle after it got stuck on a flooded road, and they were apparently swept away by surging waters.

In the Gaza Strip, civil defense said storms cut electricity to thousands of Palestinian homes and rescuers were sent to evacuate dozens of people.

The storms hit vulnerable Syrian refugees living in tent camps very hard, particularly some 50,000 sheltering in the Zaatari camp in Jordan’s northern desert.

The storm dumped at least a foot of snow on much of Jordan and was accompanied by wind, lightning, and thunder.

In Lebanon, days of winds and rain along the coast and record snow in the mountains caused power outages across the country, blocked traffic, and shut down mountain passes.

In Egypt, rare downpours, strong winds, and low visibility disrupted Suez Canal operations and led to the closure of several ports.

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