Heavy rains fell across Israel over the Sabbath, with flash floods killing four hikers in the Judean Desert. Twenty-one others were saved by search & rescue teams.

The four hikers that died were part of a group of eleven climbers who were rappelling down a cliff near Qumran, the archaeological site known for the caves in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The climbers were stranded by the flash floods caused by the heavy rains.

Four hikers, three men and one woman, were drowned by the fast-rising water. They had been sharing the same rope. “They were all dragged down together by the flood,” a rescuer told Army Radio. The other seven were rescued.

The bodies of those drowned were recovered by rescuers.

Another group of fourteen hikers were successfully evacuated from a flooded area.

The heavy rains in the desert lasted less than an hour, but caused heavy flow of water toward the Dead Sea from the relatively high ground of the Judean Desert.

Hikers are encouraged to call the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to be informed of potentially hazardous weather conditions in hiking areas.