Share story

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A thick sandstorm cloaked parts of the Middle East on Wednesday, clouding skies and disrupting travel for the U.S. first lady, while flooding in Egypt killed three people.

Michelle Obama was set to fly to Jordan when an official traveling with her said the flight was delayed “due to a weather call.” The official, speaking on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement, gave no further details.

Obama was on a two-nation visit to the Middle East to promote a girls’ education initiative and was set to fly in from Qatar.

In Israel, travel was disrupted for thousands of people when domestic flights to the resort town of Eilat were cancelled because of the weather, according to Ofer Lefler, a spokesman for the Israel Airports Authority. The Airports Authority web site showed incoming and outgoing flights to Eilat’s airport cancelled until the evening.

The haze shrouded parts of Israel, and the Israeli flag could be seen poking through above the Knesset in Jerusalem. Images in Israeli media showed a few beachgoers seen through the fog on Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

Last week, high winds and a downpour led to power outages for thousands and flooding in central Israeli cities.

Rain was coming down Wednesday in parts of Egypt, where a police official said three people drowned and 20 were injured after rainwater poured into their homes in a village in the Nile Delta province of Beheira.

Police Maj. Gen. Ashraf Abdel-Qader said authorities had to evacuate several buildings and that the downpour flooded all major roads in the area, isolating the stricken village.

___

Associated Press writers Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem and Nour Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.