20 killed as deadly icy spell grips Europe

London, Jan 8 (IANS) A deadly icy spell has gripped Europe and has blanketed even the Greek islands and southern Italy in snow, a media report said on Sunday.

In Italy, ferries and flights were cancelled and schools in the south are expected to close on Monday, the BBC reported citing weather officials.

Turkey has also been severely affected. The Bosphorus Strait was closed to shipping as a heavy snowstorm hit Istanbul.

At least 10 people died of cold in Poland. Night temperatures in Russia plunged to a minus 30 degrees Celsius.

Greece witnessed temperatures of minus 15 degrees Celsius in the north where an Afghan migrant died of cold last week and roads were closed.

In Athens, the temperature failed to rise above the freezing point and several of the islands were covered in snow.

Some of the Greek islands are home to thousands of migrants and many are being moved to temporary housing and heated tents, the BBC said.

Prague has had the coldest night so far this winter, Czech Republic officials confirmed the death of three people.

Reports from Bulgaria said two Iraqi migrants were found dead in a forest in the southeast of the country.

The cold weather was expected to continue, the weather officials added.

–IANS

ksk/vt

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