The fiercest storm to hit the area in a decade has claimed the lives of two West Bank women who drowned after their car was caught in a flash flood unleashed by torrential rains near the town of Anabta.
Nablus deputy governor Annan Atirah said the women abandoned their vehicle after it got stuck on a flooded road Tuesday. He says the bodies, apparently swept away by surging waters, were found Wednesday north of Tulkarm. The car's driver has been hospitalized.
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The IDF has been aiding the Palestinian security forces in rescuing stranded victims. Major-General Eitan Dangot, the army's coordinator of government activities in the territories, has offered to provide the Palestinians with rescue equipment.
The Israeli and Palestinian forces rescued some 30 Palestinians passengers when the bus they were riding got stuck in a flood near Wadi Kana. Seven others whose car was caught in a flood near Hirbat Jabara were transported to safety as well.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has cancelled government activity and shut down schools on Wednesday due to the storm. The alert level for the West Bank was raised and residents were asked to stay at home and avoid driving unless there's an emergency.
In Gaza, civil defense spokesman Mohammed al-Haj Yousef said the extreme weather have cut electricity powering thousands of homes and rescuers were sent to evacuate dozens of people. Over 20 trees have fallen across the Strip so far, some of which hit homes.
Parts of Israel were bracing for snow a day after the military was forced to send helicopters and rubber dinghies to aid stranded residents.
AP contributed to the report
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