Europe gripped by freezing conditions with more than 20 dead

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DEEP FREEZE: A scene from central Istanbul.

AN ICY cold front sweeping much of Europe has caused travel chaos and resulted in the death of more than twenty people.

At least 10 fatalities have occurred in Poland, with seven men killed on Friday January 6 alone, while temperatures plummeted below -20°C on Saturday.

In Belgium a man was killed when the truck he was driving slid off a motorway.

The freezing temperatures accounted for the deaths of six homeless people in Italy, with reports describing cancelled flights, ferries and trains, while schools in the south of the country are set to close on Monday due to heavy snowfall.

In Greece, which is normally quite mild in winter, temperatures fell to -15°C in the north with many roads closed on a temporary basis. Many of the Greek Islands have also been blanketed in snow.

A heavy snowstorm in Istanbul forced the closure of the Bosphorus strait, while Turkish Airlines cancelled more than 650 flights.

Russia experienced its coldest orthodox Christmas for 120 years, and other deaths have been reported in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

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