Israeli Swept by Flood Killed, Teen Reported Missing as Winter Storm Batters Country

Harsh weather conditions are afflicting Israel from north to south; twenty centimeters of snow were recorded on Mount Hermon Wednesday night

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A cargo ship in Ashdod, Israel, December 26, 2019
A cargo ship in Ashdod, Israel, December 26, 2019Credit: Ilan Assayag

A 27-year-old Israeli man, was pronounced dead on Thursday after he was swept away by a flood near the Hilazon river in northern Israel amid a storm that has been raging throughout the country. 

Majd Sawaid, a resident of Wadi Salama, was reported missing after leaving his home earlier in the day, and was found in critical condition later, before being evacuated to a hospital, where he passed away. 

A cargo ship washed ashore in Ashdod.Credit: Droneimagebank

The police reported earlier that officers, accompanied by a helicopter and firefighters, were called to search for the man, whose car was found near the river. According to the police statement, the man was found unconscious.

Sawaid's brother also died seven years ago in a car accident near Rama, in the same accident two more sisters from the village were killed, said one of his relatives. "He has a little girl and his wife is pregnant. Hard and sad accident, everyone loved him," added the relative. 

Ein al-Majnouna near Yarka in northern Israel, December 27, 2019.
Residents in al-Majnouna near Yarka in northern Israel, December 27, 2019. Credit: rami shllush

Also Thursdy, a 16-year-old was reported missing near the Druze village of Yarka in the north. Rescue teams are searching for him and suspect he was swept by floods while riding an ATV with his friend in the area of Ein Al-Majnouna.

A friend who was with him, 23, managed to get out of the stream safely, while the boy drifted off. The boy's uncle, who lives in the area, went to look for him and said he noticed him at the point where the stream passes by the road. He grabbed him by the foot but the flow was strong and he lost his grip.

Snow falling in Mount Hermon.Credit: The Mount Hermon ski resort
Flood in the town of Bu'ata in the Golan Heights.Credit: Zahwa Hussam

The storm began to lash the country in the morning, with harsh weather conditions and low temperatures recorded Thursday throughout Israel.

A collapsed embankment in Nazareth, Israel, December 26, 2019.
A collapsed embankment in Nazareth, Israel, December 26, 2019. Credit: Israel Fire and Rescue Services

Rain showers began in the north and center, accompanied by thunder and high winds. There may be floods throughout the country and the Mediterranean will be turbulent, with waves expected to reach up to 6 meters high.

In Nazareth, a wall collapsed and caused damage but no casualties. While in the Wadi Ara region, flooding was recorded. A merchant ship drifted toward the shore in the sea near Ashdod. Weather damage has also led to the suspension of traffic lights in the northern Tel Aviv area, causing heavy traffic. 

Twenty centimeters of snow were recorded Wednesday overnight in Mt. Hermon in the Golan Heights. The Israel Parks Authority closed several hiking routs in the area.

Heavy rains will continue until Friday evening. Saturday will be partly cloudy with chance of flooding in the Negev and Jordan Valley.

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