Heavy snowstorm descends on parts of Mideast

Updated 21 February 2015
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Heavy snowstorm descends on parts of Mideast

JERUSALEM: A heavy snowstorm has shut down roads leading in and out of Jerusalem and blanketed Israel’s desert with a rare layer of white.
Snow also landed Friday in parts of the West Bank as a cold front swept through the Middle East. In Gaza, heavy rains that started on Thursday have been forecast for the rest of the week.
Jerusalem municipality spokeswoman Brachie Sprung says 25 centimeters (10 inches) have already been dumped on the city, with 10 centimeters (4 inches) more expected later in the day.
Desert towns of Beersheba, Dimona and Yerucham were sprinkled with white and residents of Arad proudly showed off a snowman.
Snow has also been falling since Thursday in Lebanon and on Friday, it paralyzed most streets in the Jordanian capital, Amman.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 24 min 20 sec ago
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.