Massive Sandstorm Blankets Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and EgyptA raging sandstorm has swept into Israel, Palestine and Lebanon causing the worst Israeli air pollution in years and whipping up huge waves in the Mediterranean Sea. The storm, make up of accumulated dust carried from the far reaches of the Sahara Desert in North Africa, also engulfed Cairo for a second day.  Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry said air pollution levels were the country’s worst in five years and the storm would last into tonight. Israeli airports spokeswoman Liza Dvir said flights to and from the Red Sea resort city of Eilat were temporarily grounded due to the weather, though planes still flew through the country’s main international hub, Ben Gurion Airport outside of Tel Aviv.  Israeli police said more patrols would be on hand to respond to emergencies brought on by the weather. In Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city, strong waves broke fences, tiles and tore away part of its corniche overlooking the Mediterranean. The storm also brought heavy winds, rain and snow to the mountains.  Lebanese weather forecasters said the wind reached speeds of 60mph.  The strong sandstorm first reached Egypt yesterday, temporarily closing Cairo International Airport to incoming flights and the weather front caused strong waves to crash into the coast, resulting in the closure of two seaports.  Ihab Mohieddin, head of the Egyptian aviation authority, said departures from Cairo’s airport were undisturbed, but arrivals were closed to flights for nearly 70 minutes after vision was reduced to about 165 yards. Mohieddin said during the closure of Cairo’s airspace, four flights were diverted to another airport, while a fifth returned to Amman, Jordan. The country’s second-busiest airport outside of the city of Alexandria was closed to arrivals and departures, and flights were diverted to other airports unaffected by the storm, he added.  The state news agency said Alexandria and nearby Dekheila ports were also closed because of the weather.  Waves crashed into the shore of the Sinai Peninsula near the resort town of Dahab, forcing lifeguards into the Red Sea to rescue swimmers and divers. A Japanese diver, who was caught in high waves, was pictured being pulled to safety by a friend in the town.  The sandstorm hit Egypt after unusually warm and sunny weather for a February day, and the sky over downtown Cairo turned yellow and blotted out the sun, limiting visibility. Full Story