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Israel evacuates American tourists stranded overnight by heavy rains, flooding in Negev desert

A Lebanese woman takes shelter under her umbrella as she walks on the Corniche, or waterfront promenade, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday May 8, 2014. Severe weather and heavy rains affected parts of the Middle East on Thursday including Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. Rains in Israel forced the evacuation of dozens of American tourists who were stranded overnight in a parking lot in the Negev desert, while a new refugee camp for Syrians was flooded in Jordan. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

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A Lebanese woman takes shelter under her umbrella as she walks on the Corniche, or waterfront promenade, in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday May 8, 2014. Severe weather and heavy rains affected parts of the Middle East on Thursday including Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. Rains in Israel forced the evacuation of dozens of American tourists who were stranded overnight in a parking lot in the Negev desert, while a new refugee camp for Syrians was flooded in Jordan. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

JERUSALEM - Israeli rescue services evacuated dozens of American tourists who were stranded overnight in a parking lot in the Negev desert due to rare heavy rains, police said Thursday.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that about 70 tourists from the U.S. were stranded there since Wednesday night when the rain began. Rescuers evacuated the tourists with helicopters and jeeps Thursday morning. Nobody was injured in the incident, Rosenfeld said.

He said the tourists were on a field trip near Hulit when heavy rains prevented them from continuing the journey.

Heavy rains and thunderstorms are unusual but not unheard of in Israel this time of year. The downpour came after a week of sunshine and high temperatures. By midday Thursday, the rains largely had subsided.

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