Storm Hits Israel, Sweeping Ship Away
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Storm Hits Israel, Sweeping Ship Away

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An 8,000-ton Dutch freighter was swept to sea from its anchorage at the port of Ashdod by a fierce storm Monday and grounded on a reef off Palmahim beach, south of Tel Aviv.

Israeli navy divers managed to put a line on the stricken vessel and rescued its 17-member crew, which consisted of Israelis, Yugoslavs, Turks and Filipinos.

The 20-year-old ship, the Rocky, was said to be a total loss.

It had just completed discharging a cargo of timber, iron and sugar when heavy seas snapped the chains of its two anchors, each of which weighed seven and a half tons.

The incident was the most spectacular of the 24-hour winter storm that lashed Israel with high winds, torrential rains, freezing temperatures and snow in Jerusalem and Safed.

Winds gusted at close to 80 mph, ripping down telephone and power lines, uprooting trees and sending rooftop solar heating units spiraling skyward.

Many traffic signals were knocked out and roads were flooded in low-lying areas. Twelve foot waves were reported along the coast.

The wind and rain abated Tuesday, but meteorologists are forecasting another storm later in the week.

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