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Second snowfall dusts Jerusalem's golden dome

Shuts schools in Lebanon, Jordan, West Bank

Bad weather closed schools in Jordan and Lebanon, while snow covered Occupied Jerusalem for the second time this year.

Snow began falling on Monday in northern Jordan and is expected to hit the capital, Amman, as well as central and southern regions of the kingdom -- especially mountainous areas 800 meters above sea level -- the head of the meteorology bureau, Abdul-Halim Abou-Hazim, said in a statement to state TV.

He said winds reached 60 to 70 kilometers per hour and the temperature fell to two degrees below zero.

Jordan's official news agency Petra quoted the Minister of Education as saying that schools and universities would be closed.

Residents of Occupied Jerusalem awoke on Tuesday to a blanket of five centimeters (two inches) of snow, as the region faced a second rare cold front in less than a month, officials said.

But schools and public offices opened after snow ploughs cleared most streets in the Holy City.

Thick snowflakes settled on the walls surrounding the Old City and covered the golden dome in the Al-Aqsa compound on Temple Mount.

Snow also fell in the West Bank towns of Hebron and Bethlehem. Schools there were closed for the day.

The Gaza Strip, meanwhile, was hit by heavy rain.

In Lebanon, most mountain roads were blocked after heavy storms hit the area.

Phones lines and electricity wires were cut off and crops were damaged in the north, while entire mountain villages were isolated in the east, and government offices and schools closed.

The Lebanese metrology bureau said the snow storm started on Monday, 24 hours later than expected.

Conditions are expected to return to normal by Tuesday night.


(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).