Sandstorm hits Israel, sends sea waves tearing into Beirut

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Sandstorm hits Israel, sends sea waves tearing into Beirut
GAZA CITY, GAZA - FEBRUARY 11: Streets covered with desert sand are seen in Gaza City as a sandstorm blown by strong winds from the Negev Desert hits the city on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Mohammed Asad/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM - FEBRUARY 10: Al-Aqsa Mosque is seen in Jerusalem as a sandstorm blown by strong winds from the Negev Desert hits the city on February 10, 2015. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM - FEBRUARY 10: A tourist is seen at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem as a sandstorm blown by strong winds from the Negev Desert hits the city on February 10, 2015. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - FEBRUARY 11: Streets covered with desert sand are seen in Gaza City as a sandstorm blown by strong winds from the Negev Desert hits the city on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Mohammed Asad/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
High waves in the old city of Acre, northern Israel, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. A sandstorm dumping North African dust on parts of the Middle East roared into Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday, causing the worst Israeli air pollution in years and sending powerful waves into Beirut’s famed corniche along the Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Palestinians walk during a sandstorm on February 11, 2015 next to buildings destroyed during last year's 50-day war between Israel and Hamas-led militants, in Gaza City's al-Shejaiya neighborhood. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian girl cries and asks for her brother as they stand amid the rubble of buildings destroyed during last year's 50-day war between Israel and Hamas-led militants, on February 11, 2015 during a sandstorm in Gaza City's al-Shejaiya neighborhood. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian man gestures standing next to buildings destroyed during last year's 50-day war between Israel and Hamas-led militants, on February 11, 2015 during a sandstorm in Gaza City's al-Shejaiya neighborhood. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinians walk past prefabricated buildings during a sandstorm on February 11, 2015 next to buildings destroyed during last year's 50-day war between Israel and Hamas-led militants, in Gaza City's al-Shejaiya neighborhood. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
Camels are seen near the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom, in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beersheva, during a sandstorm on February 10, 2015. Segev Shalom was founded in 1979 as part of a government project to settle Negev Bedouins in permanent settlements and it is one of seven Bedouin townships in the Negev desert with approved plans and developed infrastructure. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM - FEBRUARY 10: Jerusalem is seen as a sandstorm blown by strong winds from the Negev Desert hits the city on February 10, 2015. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM - FEBRUARY 10: Al-Aqsa Mosque is seen in Jerusalem as a sandstorm blown by strong winds from the Negev Desert hits the city on February 10, 2015. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
High waves during a sandstorm in Haifa, northern Israel, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. A sandstorm dumping North African dust on parts of the Middle East roared into Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday, causing the worst Israeli air pollution in years and sending powerful waves into Beirut’s famed corniche along the Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
People stand in strong winds during a sandstorm in Haifa, northern Israel, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. A sandstorm dumping North African dust on parts of the Middle East roared into Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday, causing the worst Israeli air pollution in years and sending powerful waves into Beirut’s famed corniche along the Mediterranean. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
The Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound is seen during a dust storm in Jerusalem's old city, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Kids play on man-made sand hill to block high waves ahead of the upcoming storm in Tel Aviv's beach front, Israel, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. Wind gusts up to 38 Knots and waves up to 9 meters, or 29 feet, hit along the coastline of Israel on Tuesday. Wintry weather is striking across the Middle East, bringing cold weather to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and a blanketing sandstorm in Cairo. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - FEBRUARY 11: Streets covered with desert sand are seen in Gaza City as a sandstorm blown by strong winds from the Negev Desert hits the city on February 11, 2015. (Photo by Mohammed Asad/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Israeli Bedouin children play in the yard of their home during a sandstorm in the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom, in the Negev desert, near the southern Israeli city of Beersheva, on February 10, 2015. Segev Shalom was founded in 1979 as part of a government project to settle Negev Bedouins in permanent settlements and it is one of seven Bedouin townships in the Negev desert with approved plans and developed infrastructure. AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
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A Mideast sandstorm roared into Israel and Lebanon on Wednesday, causing the worst Israeli air pollution in years and sending powerful waves tearing into Beirut's famed corniche along the Mediterranean Sea.

The sandstorm, made up of accumulated dust carried from the far reaches of the Sahara Desert in North Africa, also engulfed Cairo for a second day. High winds lashed those on the streets, causing some to walk backward to avoid getting the grit in their faces.

Israel's Environmental Protection Ministry said air pollution levels were the country's worst in five years and the storm would last into Wednesday night. Israeli airports spokeswoman Liza Dvir said flights to and from the Red Sea resort city of Eilat temporarily were grounded due to the weather, though planes still flew through the country's main international hub, Ben Gurion Airport outside of Tel Aviv.

Israeli police said more patrols would be on hand in case of emergencies brought on by the weather.

In Beirut, strong waves broke fences, tiles and tore away part of its corniche overlooking the Mediterranean. The storm also brought heavy winds, rain and snow to the mountains. Lebanese weather forecasters said the wind reached speeds of 100 kilometers per hour (60 mph).

On Tuesday, the strong sandstorm first reached Egypt, temporarily closing Cairo International Airport to incoming flights. The weather front also caused strong waves to crash into the coast and saw Egypt close two of its seaports.

The sandstorm hit Egypt after unusually warm and sunny weather for a February day. Such sandstorms are common in Egypt this time of year.

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