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Incredible footages of sandstorm choking Mideast

Published: Updated:

An nonseasonal sandstorm swept across the Mideast on Tuesday, blanketing Beirut and Damascus, causing the deaths of at least five people and sending hundreds of others to hospitals with breathing difficulties, officials said.

Reduced visibility prompted the Syrian government to call off airstrikes against rebel fighters, local media reported, and threatened planned protests by Lebanese activists over the government's inability to deal with the country's rampant trash crisis.

The storm also hit Jordan, Israel and Egypt. In Jordan, schools shut down or cut their days short.