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Canary Islands flights hit by sandstorm

Tourists travelling to and from the Canary Islands have seen flights disrupted by a huge sandstorm.

Airport operator Aena cancelled, suspended or diverted all flights to and from the islands on Sunday, citing low visibility.

Some 822 flights were affected, according to officials.

Flights are now returning to normal, with Tenerife South the only airport still affected.

A state of alert was issued by the regional government on Saturday, with residents advised to stay indoors, close their windows and avoid travel.

Strong winds from the Saharan desert have blasted the islands with a dense cloud of sand, some 500 kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean.

Ferry services and efforts to tackle wildfires in Tasarte, Gran Canaria, have also been hampered by the winds.

The Canary Islands, which include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and La Palma, are popular with European tourists in search of winter sun.

Image: Mercedes Menendez/Zuma Press/PA Images

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