20 Israelis rescued from flash floods in Negev

Police repeatedly called on the the public to refrain from traveling to the area.

An Israeli Air Force Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli Air Force pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel, December 27, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
An Israeli Air Force Sikorsky CH-53 helicopter flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli Air Force pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel, December 27, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
One man was moderately injured from flash floods in Nahal Arod in the South on Saturday after a group of five hikers were stranded in the area when they ignored weather warnings.
The injured man, 50, was evacuated to Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba for treatment.
Police and the IDF together rescued a total of 20 people in the Negev, including hikers and others driving jeeps. The police and IDF completed the rescue operations on Saturday night with the assistance of volunteers, helicopters and night-vision equipment.
Police repeatedly called on the public to refrain from traveling to the area.
On Friday, the IDF’s elite search-and-rescue Unit 669 was deployed to find four hikers in Nahal Og, who were stranded after being washed away by floodwater.
“Despite adverse weather conditions, the four hikers were rescued by 669 fighters,” the army said, adding that one was hospitalized for minor injuries.
The harsh weather also hit Jordan, causing much greater damage with at least 12 people killed and dozens missing. Authorities evacuated more than 3,700 tourists from the ancient city of Petra on Friday, officials said.
The visitors were taken to safe areas before flash floods inundated parts of the mountainous city famed for its carved rock ruins, government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat said.
Authorities declared a state of emergency in Aqaba further south as downpours started in the afternoon.
Civil defense divers searched for five people whose car was swept away by floods in the Madaba area, southwest of the capital, state news agency Petra said.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry examined reports that three Israelis were missing in southern Jordan’s Wadi Rum, and found them to be safe and well.
Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.