Floods killed nine people in Jordan on Friday, government and civil defense said, and five others were missing.

Three Israelis were reported missing during their trip to Wadi Rum after being unreachable by the Israeli Ministry on Saturday.

Following a contact with the Jordanian authorities, a later update by a Foreign Ministry spokesman said: "All the Israelis in Jordan have contacted us, all have been found."

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that their search and rescue team deployed with an Israeli Air Force helicopter (IAF) was able to find and rescue civilians.

"Despite difficult weather conditions, the 669 elite unit and four civilian rescue units rescued four Wadi civilians, one of whom was evacuated to the hospital for medical treatment while the other three civilians did not need medical attention." The IDF statement said Saturday.

It added that IAF helicopters were also working to find civilians carried away in Nahal Arod, southern Israel.

The bad weekend weather also saw more than 3,700 tourists being evacuated by authorities from Petra's world-famous historic site.

The deaths occurred more than two weeks after the October 25 floods in the Dead Sea region of Jordan, which cost 21 lives, most of them on a school trip.

The recent rains hit the south of the desert and claimed seven lives, government spokesperson Jumana Ghneimat said.

AP Photo / Raad Adayleh

A civil protection source told AFP that five other people were missing.

"Heavy rains in the Dabaa region (south of Amman) led to the closure of the desert highway (which led to the south of the country) in both directions after the area had been flooded," Ghneimat said.

She said two women and one child had fallen in the floods.

According to the Civil Defense Department, another child died in Madaba, also south of Amman, when the car the child was in was caught in the water.

"Rescue teams are looking for five people missing in this area," the source said.

The Jordanian army deployed helicopters and armored vehicles to ease the search for missing persons and help those threatened by the floods, state television reported.

The authorities evacuated 3,762 tourists from the ancient city of Petra, an archaeological site and a major tourist destination in southern Jordan due to bad weather, Ghneimat said.

State television said that the flood in the red rock city of Petra and some parts of the nearby Wadi Mussa desert had risen between three and four meters and had flooded the main roads.

It broadcast footage of people on both sides of the main street in Petra and along the desert road, trying to stay away from the flood.

The Jordanian Ministry of Education also ordered the closure of schools across the country on Sunday.

Ghneimat urged residents of the affected regions and lower-lying regions to vacate their homes, saying it is expected that heavy rains will continue to hit Jordan on Friday night and Saturday.

Jordan's education and tourism ministers resigned last week after the fatal school bus accident in the Dead Sea region.


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