Rare Snow Storm Hits Jersusalem

A fierce winter storm is sweeping across the Middle East

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Abir Sultan / EPA

Snow-covered cars are parked on a street in central Jerusalem, Dec. 13, 2013.

Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank was enduring a rare snowstorm sweeping across the Middle East on Friday. At least 20 inches had fallen since Thursday, Reuters reports.

“In my 54 years I don’t remember a sight like this, such an amount I cannot recall,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said.

The storm has tested Israeli rescue services, with more than 1,000 people were stranded overnight because of the heavy snow fall. The military helped police rescue hundreds of people stuck in vehicles on highways near the capital, Reuters reports.

It was also reportedly snowing heavily in Cairo.

The United Nations and other aid agencies have warned that thousands of Syrian refugees living in vulnerable conditions in Lebanon are at risk from the heavy snow and freezing rain that have hit the region this week, the Guardian reports.