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Israel expecting sandstorms, dense haze as wind system moves in

A Palestinian man wears a mask to protect himself from dust as he walks past the Dome of the Rock mosque in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the old city of Jerusalem, during a sandstorm on September 8, 2015
Ahmad Gharabli (AFP)
Israel's environment ministry warns of poor air quality due to high concentration of dust particles

Israel is readying for the year's first sandstorms on Sunday as a strong wind system moves in from North Africa.

Strong winds will bring unseasonably hot and dry conditions in central and southern Israel, as well as low visibility and poor air quality as it whips up sand from the Negev desert.

Israel's Environmental Protection Ministry issued a statement Sunday morning that people with heart and lung diseases, pregnant women, and small children should avoid spending prolonged periods of time outdoors due to the high concentration of dust particles in the air, while healthy individuals should avoid strenuous outdoor physical activity.

Anna Ahronheim

The storm is expected to clear by Sunday evening, with rain and thunderstorms forecast in northern Israel expected to move south and break the heatwave.

Sandstorms, or hamsin, are common in the desert region stretching from North African and the Middle East.

Last September, a major dust storm blanketed the Middle East engulfing large parts of Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Cyprus have been shrouded in a thick cloud of dust for four days.

See also:

- Scientists baffled by Middle East dust storm

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