Israel Thwarts Locust Swarms from Egypt

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- At daybreak Wednesday, Israel's Ministry of Agriculture continued spraying locust swarms that invaded from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Monday.

Teams of ministry workers saturated the swarms with pesticide from the air and ground after aerial mapping pinpointed their locations.

The ministry instructed farmers to seal their greenhouses and keep authorities alerted to any infestation. Negev residents were advised to stay indoors with their windows closed and blinds down.

Crops maturing in protected environments were unharmed by the invasion, but some potato farmers in the Negev reported serious losses. Small numbers of the insects were spotted in other parts of the country.

Arab farmers in the Gaza Strip also reported damage to their crops. Hamas, the Palestinian faction controlling Gaza, advised residents Wednesday to keep their windows closed.

Authorities say a shift in the wind that brought the locusts from Egypt, coupled with a cold front, will deter more swarms from invading Israel.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture said it had the situation under "full control" and the locusts did not represent "danger or harm to people and plants."

In anticipation of a possible invasion, the ministry issued a "locust alert" Monday, asking farmers and citizens to be on the lookout for the insects and report any infestations immediately.

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