Saudi Civil Defense says 18 killed in flood rains

Saudi Arabia's Civil Defense says heavy rains and flooding have left 18 people dead across the country.

A statement Thursday by the rescue force says they have received more than 26,000 calls for assistance in various parts of the country. The force says it has rescued 915 people and helped 858 cars stranded by flooding.

The Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel reported the deaths and rescue efforts took place over the past two weeks.

The severe weather forced schools in the capital, Riyadh and the southwest region of Asir to suspend classes on Wednesday.

Floods also swept through the eastern regions of Mecca and Medina and south to the border areas of Jizan and Najran.