©Daniel Shabodia
The meteorite, as seen above Machmoret, Israel

A large meteor crossed Israel's skies on Tuesday evening, and was seen by many residents, mainly in Samaria, Army Radio reported.

According to citizens' reports, the object was seen at approximately 8:15 p.m., as it crossed the sky from east to west horizontally. Some witnesses said they saw two shiny objects in the sky, and others reported that they heard a shrieking sound.

A Petah Tikva resident told Army Radio that he saw a beam of light, which crossed the sky in the direction of the sea. "It looked like a comet, with a long white tail, but much shinier and moving much faster," he said.

Yigal Pat-El, chairman of the Israeli Union of Astronomers, told Army Radio that the meteor was exceptionally large, and that its entry into the atmosphere was not expected.

Nevertheless, he emphasized that this was not an uncommon occurrence.

"Meteors enter the Earth's atmosphere all the time - it's not a rare phenomenon. The meteor was relatively large - most do not weigh a thousandth of a gram, and it seems this meteor would have weighed a few grams," he said.