By Scott Malone, Laila Kearney and Ellen Wulfhorst BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. blizzard swept past New York City and struck hardest at some 4.5 million people around Boston, dropping nearly three feet of snow in areas and triggering high tides that breached a seawall and forced residents to flee their coastal homes. The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut lifted travel bans they had imposed a day earlier and New York City's subway system restarted after being closed for 10 hours, but officials urged people to stay off snow-covered roadways. The snow was forecast to continue into early Wednesday morning in eastern New England, which could set a new snowfall record in Boston, where 20.8 inches (53 cm) of snow was already on the ground early afternoon, often piled higher by strong winds. "There are drifts now of four, five and six feet in some places," Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker told reporters.
New York authorities on Tuesday vigorously defended a decision to shut down America's biggest city for a storm that skirted the Big Apple, dumping the worst snow on Long Island and New England. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city got only a fraction of the two feet (60 centimeters) of snow that had been widely predicted in the 48 hours leading up to the storm. The National Weather Service warned that life-threatening conditions persisted along the coast from Long Island into Connecticut and Massachusetts, where more than two feet of snow blanketed some areas. "You plan the best you can and you lean toward safety," New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo told a news conference under a barrage of questioning.
By Ahmed Elumami TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Two heavily armed gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Tripoli favored by Libyan officials and visiting delegations on Tuesday, killing at least eight people including four foreigners before blowing themselves up with a grenade. Officials said shooting erupted inside the five-star Corinthia Hotel and security forces evacuated guests, including Tripoli's prime minister and an American delegation, after the gunmen blasted through the building's security and reception. It was one of the worst assaults targeting foreigners since the 2011 civil war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi and fractured the oil-producing North African state into fiefdoms of rival armed groups with two national governments both claiming legitimacy. A militant group associated with Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility for the attack as revenge for the death of a suspected Libyan al Qaeda operative in the United States, according to the SITE monitoring service.