Main roads flooded in fierce Israel rainstorm

January 8, 2013 - 2:33 PM
Mideast Israel Weather

A person crosses the blocked and flooded Ayalon freeway in Tel Aviv, Israel,Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. Heavy rains flooded Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Heavy rain flooded the main highway into Israel's main commercial hub, and an army helicopter was sent to rescue Israelis stranded on a roof in one of the region's fiercest rainstorms in decades.

The highway that runs through Tel Aviv was closed Tuesday for hours, and flash floods closed the main road along the Dead Sea.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said army helicopters were deployed to rescue a family from a flooded home in northern Israel. About five Israelis were injured by falling trees.

Palestinian officials in the Gaza Strip say 11 people were injured in weather-related incidents, and Gaza's commercial center was shut.

In the West Bank, Palestinian rescue services said they evacuated dozens of families from their homes.

Fierce storms are also forecast for Wednesday.