Sandstorm in Egypt briefly shuts down Cairo's airport


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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's Cairo International Airport briefly closed to arrivals Tuesday as a sandstorm descended over the country that also disrupted traffic at other airfields and seaports, officials said.

Ihab Mohieddin, the 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 150 meters (yards).

Mohieddin said during the closure of Cairo's airspace, four flights were diverted to another airport, while a fifth returned to Amman, Jordan.

Mohieddin said 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.

The state news agency said Alexandria and nearby Dekheila ports also were closed because of wind gusts. Waves also 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.

The sandstorm hit Egypt after unusually warm and sunny weather for a February day. The sky over downtown Cairo turned yellow and blotted out the sun, limiting visibility.

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