Israel on Alert as Locusts Hit Neighboring Egypt

A swarm of locusts is seen in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, in the Red Sea, Sunday Nov. 21, 2004. Israel is on a locust alert again in March 2013 as swarms of the destructive bugs descend on neighboring Egypt ahead of the Passover holiday.
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By IAN DEITCH, Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is on a locust alert as swarms of the destructive bugs descend on neighboring Egypt ahead of the Passover holiday.

Israel's Agriculture Ministry set up an emergency hotline Monday and is asking Israelis to be vigilant in reporting locust sightings to prevent an outbreak.

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Locusts have a devastating effect on agriculture by quickly stripping crops.

Swarms of locusts have descended on Egypt, raising fears they could spread to Israel.

The locust alert comes ahead of the Passover festival, which recounts the biblical story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt. According to the Bible, a plague of locusts was one of 10 plagues God imposed on Egyptians for enslaving and abusing ancient Hebrews.

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