Sinai Peninsula

The Sinai Peninsula or simply Sinai (now usually /ˈsaɪnaɪ/ SY-ny, also /ˈsaɪniaɪ/ SY-nee-eye and US: /ˈsaɪneɪaɪ/ SY-nay-eye)[1][2][3] is a peninsula in Egypt, and the only part of the country located in Asia. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the south, and is a land bridge between Asia and Africa. Sinai has a land area of about 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi) and a population of approximately 1,400,000 people. Administratively, the Sinai Peninsula is divided into two governorates: the South Sinai Governorate and the North Sinai Governorate. Three other governorates span the Suez Canal, crossing into African Egypt: Suez Governorate on the southern end of the Suez Canal, Ismailia Governorate in the center, and Port Said Governorate in the north.

The Sinai Peninsula has been a part of Egypt from the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt (c. 3100 BC). This comes in stark contrast to the region north of it, the Levant (present-day territories of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine), which, due largely to its strategic geopolitical location and cultural convergences, has historically been the center of conflict between Egypt and various states of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor. In periods of foreign occupation, the Sinai was, like the rest of Egypt, also occupied and controlled by foreign empires, in more recent history the Ottoman Empire (1517–1867) and the United Kingdom (1882–1956). Israel invaded and occupied Sinai during the Suez Crisis (known in Egypt as the Tripartite Aggression due to the simultaneous coordinated attack by the UK, France and Israel) of 1956, and during the Six-Day War of 1967. On 6 October 1973, Egypt launched the Yom Kippur War to retake the peninsula, which was unsuccessful. In 1982, as a result of the Israel–Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979, Israel withdrew from all of the Sinai Peninsula except the contentious territory of Taba, which was returned after a ruling by a commission of arbitration in 1989.

Today, Sinai has become a tourist destination due to its natural setting, rich coral reefs, and biblical history. Mount Sinai is one of the most religiously significant places in the Abrahamic faiths.

Relief map of the Sinai Peninsula
Area60,000 km 2(23,000 sq mi)
Countries Egypt


Mount Sinai (Gabal Musa)

The name Sinai (Hebrew: סִינַי, Classical Syriac: ܣܝܢܝ‎) may have been derived from the ancient moon-god Sin[4] or from the Hebrew word Seneh (Hebrew: סֶ֫נֶּהSenneh)[5] The peninsula acquired the name due to the assumption that a mountain near Saint Catherine's Monastery is the Biblical Mount Sinai. However this assumption is contested.[6]

Its modern Arabic name is سِينَاء Sīnāʼ  (Egyptian Arabic سينا Sīna; IPA: [ˈsiːnæ]). The modern Arabic is an adoption of the biblical name, the 19th-century Arabic designation of Sinai was Jebel el-Tûr.[7] In addition to its formal name, Egyptians also refer to it as Arḍ ul-Fairūz (أرض الفيروز 'the land of turquoise'). The ancient Egyptians called it Ta Mefkat, or 'land of turquoise'.[8]

In English, the name is now usually pronounced /ˈsaɪnaɪ/.[9][10] The traditional pronunciation is /ˈsaɪneɪ/ or /ˈsaɪneɪaɪ/.[11][12]


Image from Gemini 11 spacecraft, featuring part of Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula in the foreground and the Levant in the background

Sinai is triangular in shape, with northern shore lying on the southern Mediterranean Sea, and southwest and southeast shores on Gulf of Suez and Gulf of Aqaba of the Red Sea. It is linked to the African continent by the Isthmus of Suez, 125 kilometres (78 mi) wide strip of land, containing the Suez Canal. The eastern isthmus, linking it to the Asian mainland, is around 200 kilometres (120 mi) wide. The peninsula's eastern shore separates the Arabian plate from the African plate.[13]

The southernmost tip is the Ras Muhammad National Park.

Most of the Sinai Peninsula is divided among the two governorates of Egypt: South Sinai (Ganub Sina) and North Sinai (Shamal Sina).[14] Together, they comprise around 60,000 square kilometres (23,000 sq mi) and have a population (January 2013) of 597,000. Three more governates span the Suez Canal, crossing into African Egypt: Suez (el-Sewais) is on the southern end of the Suez Canal, Ismailia (el-Isma'ileyyah) in the centre, and Port Said in the north.

The largest city of Sinai is Arish, capital of the North Sinai, with around 160,000 residents. Other larger settlements include Sharm el-Sheikh and El-Tor, on the southern coast. Inland Sinai is arid (effectively a desert), mountainous and sparsely populated, the largest settlements being Saint Catherine and Nekhel.[14]


Sinai is one of the coldest provinces in Egypt because of its high altitudes and mountainous topographies. Winter temperatures in some of Sinai's cities and towns reach −16 °C (3 °F).


Sinai Peninsula in hieroglyphs

'Mining country'[15]

Ancient Egypt

Sinai was called Mafkat ("Country of Turquoise") by the ancient Egyptians[16][17] From the time of the First Dynasty or before, the Egyptians mined turquoise in Sinai at two locations, now called by their Egyptian Arabic names Wadi Magharah and Serabit El Khadim. The mines were worked intermittently and on a seasonal basis for thousands of years. Modern attempts to exploit the deposits have been unprofitable. These may be the first historically attested mines.

The fortress Tjaru in western Sinai was a place of banishment for Egyptian criminals. The Way of Horus connected it across northern Sinai with ancient Canaan.

Achaemenid Persian Period

At the end of the time of Darius I, the Great (521–486 BCE) Sinai was part of the Persian province of Abar-Nahra, which means 'beyond the river [Euphrates]'.[18]

Cambyses successfully managed the crossing of the hostile Sinai Desert, traditionally Egypt's first and strongest line of defence, and brought the Egyptians under Psamtik III, son and successor of Ahmose, to battle at Pelusium. The Egyptians lost and retired to Memphis; the city fell to the Persian control and the Pharaoh was carried off in captivity to Susa in Persia.

Roman and Byzantine Periods

Katharinenkloster Sinai BW 2
St. Catherine's Monastery is the oldest working Christian monastery in the world and the most popular tourist attraction on the peninsula.

Rhinocorura (Greek for "Cut-off Noses") and the eponymous region around it were used by Ptolemaid Egypt as a place of banishment for criminals.

After the death of the last Nabatean king, Rabbel II Soter, in 106,[19] the Roman emperor Trajan faced practically no resistance and conquered the kingdom on 22 March 106. With this conquest, the Roman Empire went on to control all shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The Sinai Peninsula became part of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea.[20]

Saint Catherine's Monastery on the foot of Mount Sinai was constructed by order of the Emperor Justinian between 527 and 565. Most of the Sinai Peninsula became part of the province of Palaestina Salutaris in the 6th century.

Ayyubid Period

During the Crusades it was under the control of Fatimid Caliphate. Later, Saladin abolished the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt and took this region under his control too. It was the military route from Cairo to Damascus during the Crusades. And in order to secure this route, he built a citadel on the island of Pharaoh in Taba known by his name 'Saladin's citadel'.

Mamluk and Ottoman Periods

The peninsula was governed as part of Egypt under the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt from 1260 until 1517, when the Ottoman Sultan, Selim the Grim, defeated the Egyptians at the Battles of Marj Dabiq and al-Raydaniyya, and incorporated Egypt into the Ottoman Empire. From then until 1906, Sinai was administered by the Ottoman provincial government of the Pashalik of Egypt, even following the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty's rule over the rest of Egypt in 1805.

A camping-place in the wilderness of Sinai
The wilderness of Sinai, 1862

British control

In 1906, the Ottoman Porte formally transferred administration of Sinai to the Egyptian government, which essentially meant that it fell under the control of the United Kingdom, who had occupied and largely controlled Egypt since 1882. The border imposed by the British runs in an almost straight line from Rafah on the Mediterranean shore to Taba on the Gulf of Aqaba. This line has served as the eastern border of Egypt ever since.

Israeli invasions and occupation

Canadian and Panamanian UNEF UN peacekeepers in Sinai, 1974

In 1956, Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal,[21] a waterway marking the boundary between Egyptian territory in Africa and the Sinai Peninsula. Thereafter, Israeli ships were prohibited from using the Canal,[22] owing to the state of war between the two states. Egypt also prohibited ships from using Egyptian territorial waters on the eastern side of the peninsula to travel to and from Israel, effectively imposing a blockade on the Israeli port of Eilat. In October 1956, in what is known in Egypt as the Tripartite Aggression, Israeli forces, aided by Britain, and France (which sought to reverse the nationalization and regain control over the Suez Canal), invaded Sinai and occupied much of the peninsula within a few days. In March 1957, Israel withdrew its forces from Sinai, following strong pressure from the United States and the Soviet Union. Thereafter, the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was stationed in Sinai to prevent any further conflict in the Sinai.

On 16 May 1967, Egypt ordered the UNEF out of Sinai[23] and reoccupied it militarily. Secretary-General U Thant eventually complied and ordered the withdrawal without Security Council authorisation. In the course of the Six-Day War that broke out shortly thereafter, Israel occupied the entire Sinai Peninsula, and Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) from Jordan (which Jordan had controlled since 1949), and the Golan Heights from Syria. The Suez Canal, the east bank of which was now occupied by Israel, was closed. Israel commenced efforts at large scale Israeli settlement in the Sinai Peninsula.

Following the Israeli conquest of Sinai, Egypt launched the War of Attrition (1967–70) aimed at forcing Israel to withdraw from the Sinai. The war saw protracted conflict in the Suez Canal Zone, ranging from limited to large scale combat. Israeli shelling of the cities of Port Said, Ismailia, and Suez on the west bank of the canal, led to high civilian casualties (including the virtual destruction of Suez), and contributed to the flight of 700,000[24] Egyptian internal refugees. Ultimately, the war concluded in 1970 with no change in the front line.[25]

On 6 October 1973, Egypt commenced Operation Badr to retake the Sinai, while Syria launched a simultaneous operation to retake the Golan Heights, thereby beginning the Yom Kippur War (known in Egypt and much of Europe as the October War). Egyptian engineering forces built pontoon bridges to cross the Suez Canal, and stormed the Bar-Lev Line, Israel's defensive line along the Suez Canal's east bank. Though the Egyptians maintained control of most of the east bank of the Suez Canal, in the later stages of the war, the Israeli military crossed the southern section of the Suez Canal, cutting off the Egyptian 3rd Army, and occupied a section of the Suez Canal's west bank. The war ended following a mutually agreed-upon ceasefire. After the war, as part of the subsequent Sinai Disengagement Agreements, Israel withdrew from immediate proximity with the Suez Canal, with Egypt agreeing to permit passage of Israeli ships. The canal was reopened in 1975, with President Sadat leading the first convoy through the canal aboard an Egyptian destroyer.

1979-82 Israeli withdrawal

Egypt-Israel border. Looking north from the Eilat Mountains

In 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in which Israel agreed to withdraw from the entirety of the Sinai Peninsula. Israel subsequently withdrew in several stages, ending in 1982. The Israeli pull-out involved dismantling almost all Israeli settlements, including the settlement of Yamit in north-eastern Sinai. The exception was that the coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh (which the Israelis had founded as Ofira during their occupation of the Sinai Peninsula) was not dismantled. The Treaty allows monitoring of Sinai by the Multinational Force and Observers, and limits the number of Egyptian military forces in the peninsula.

Early 21st century security issues

Since the early 2000s, Sinai has been the site of several terror attacks against tourists, the majority of whom are Egyptian. Investigations have shown that these were mainly motivated by a resentment of the poverty faced by many Bedouin in the area. Attacking the tourist industry was viewed as a method of damaging the industry so that the government would pay more attention to their situation.[26] (See 2004 Sinai bombings, 2005 Sharm El Sheikh bombings and 2006 Dahab bombings). Since the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, unrest has become more prevalent in the area including the 2012 Egyptian-Israeli border attack in which 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed by militants. (See Sinai insurgency.)

Also on the rise are kidnappings of refugees. According to Meron Estifanos, Eritrean refugees are often kidnapped by Bedouin in the northern Sinai, tortured, raped, and only released after receiving a large ransom.[27][28]

Under President el-Sisi, Egypt has implemented a rigorous policy of controlling the border to the Gaza Strip, including the dismantling of tunnels between Gaza and Sinai.[29]


Bedouins making bread
Two young Bedouins making bread in the desert

The two governorates of North and South Sinai have a total population of 597,000 (January 2013). This figure rises to 1,400,000 by including Western Sinai, the parts of the Port Said, Ismailia and Suez Governorates lying east of the Suez Canal. Port Said alone has a population of roughly 500,000 people (January 2013). Portions of the populations of Ismailia and Suez live in west Sinai, while the rest live on the western side of the Suez Canal.

The population of Sinai has largely consisted of desert-dwelling Bedouins with their colourful traditional costumes and significant culture.[30] Large numbers of Egyptians from the Nile Valley and Delta moved to the area to work in tourism, but development adversely affected the native Bedouin population. In order to help alleviate their problems, various NGOs began to operate in the region, including the Makhad Trust, a UK charity that assists the Bedouin in developing a sustainable income while protecting Sinai's natural environment, heritage and culture.


Dahab View from dive shop
Dahab in Southern Sinai is a popular beach and diving resort

Since the Israeli–Egyptian peace treaty, Sinai's scenic spots (including coral reefs offshore) and religious structures have become important to the tourism industry. The most popular tourist destination in Sinai are Mount Sinai (Jabal Musa) and St Catherine's Monastery, which is considered to be the oldest working Christian monastery in the world, and the beach resorts of Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba. Most tourists arrive at Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport, through Eilat, Israel and the Taba Border Crossing, by road from Cairo or by ferry from Aqaba in Jordan.

See also

Natural places
Manmade structures


  1. ^ "Sinai". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Sinai". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Sinai". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Sinai Peninsula (peninsula, Egypt) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Sinai, Mount". Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  6. ^ See Biblical Mount Sinai for a fuller discussion.
  7. ^ J. W. Parker, The Bible Cyclopaedia vol. 2 (1843), p. 1143. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Sinai and Palestine: In Connection with Their History (1877), p. 29.
  8. ^ "Étude de la turquoise : de ses traitements et imitations" Archived 15 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine, thesis by Claire Salanne, Université de Nantes, 2009.
  9. ^ "Definition of Sinai". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Sinai". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  11. ^ John FARRAR (Classical Tutor at the Wesleyan Theological Institution, Richmond.) (1839). The Proper Names of the Bible; Their Orthography, Pronunciation, and Signification, Etc. p. 227.
  12. ^ A Pronouncing Dictionary of the Holy Bible: Being a Concordance of Subjects and Complete Index to the Holy Scriptures. Virtue and Yorston. 1869. p. 215.
  13. ^ Homberg, Catherine and Martina Bachmann, Evolution of the Levant Margin and Western Arabia Platform Since the Mesozoic, The Geological Society of London, 2010, p 65 ISBN 978-1862393066
  14. ^ a b Ned Greenwood (1 January 2010). The Sinai: A Physical Geography. University of Texas Press. pp. 4–. ISBN 978-0-292-77909-9.
  15. ^ a b The translation 'mining country' is not certain, see also Rainer Hannig: Großes Handwörterbuch Ägyptisch-Deutsch : (2800 – 950 v. Chr.). p. 1135.
  16. ^ "EgyptSearch Forums: Archaeology of the Sinai Desert during the early-mid Holocene (10 000BC-3000BC)?". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  17. ^ Joseph Davidovits and Ralph Davidovits (2007). "Why Djoser's blue Egyptian faience tiles are not blue? Manufacturing Djoser's faience tiles at temperatures as low as 250 °C?". In Jean Claude Goyon, Christine Cardin (ed.). Proceedings of the ninth International Congress of Egyptologists (PDF). 1. Louvain/Paris/Dudley. p. 375.
  18. ^ "History of Iran: Achaemenid Persian Syria 538-331 BCE; Two Centuries of Persian Rule". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  19. ^ Schürer, Emil; Millar, Fergus; Vermes, Geza (26 March 2015). The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ:. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 583. ISBN 978-0-567-50161-5.
  20. ^ Taylor, Jane: Petra And the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans. I. B. Tauris 2001, ISBN 1860645089, p. 73-74 (online copy, p. 73, at Google Books)
  21. ^ Editors, History com. "Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal". HISTORY. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  22. ^ "1956: Egypt Seizes Suez Canal". BBC. 26 July 1956.
  23. ^ Samir A. Mutawi (18 July 2002). Jordan in the 1967 War. Cambridge University Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-521-52858-0. Although Eshkol denounced the Egyptians, his response to this development was a model of moderation. His speech on 21 May demanded that Nasser withdraw his forces from Sinai but made no mention of the removal of UNEF from the Straits nor of what Israel would do if they were closed to Israeli shipping. The next day Nasser announced to an astonished world that henceforth the Straits were, indeed, closed to all Israeli ships
  24. ^ Spencer, Tucker. Encyclopedia or the Arab-Israeli Conflict. p. 175.
  25. ^ "War of Attrition".
  26. ^ Serene Assir (23 July 2005). "Shock in Sharm". Al-Ahram Weekly. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  27. ^ "Close the Torture Houses in North Sinai and Egypt". [AI] Asmarino Independent. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  28. ^ Sound of Torture documentary
  29. ^ Fouad, Ahmed (17 April 2015). "Egypt discovers record-length smuggling tunnel". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  30. ^ Leonard, William R. and Michael H. Crawford, The Human Biology of Pastoral Populations, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 67 ISBN 978-0521780162

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 29°30′N 33°50′E / 29.500°N 33.833°E

2006 Dahab bombings

The Dahab bombings of 24 April 2006 were three bomb attacks on the Egyptian resort city of Dahab, in the Sinai Peninsula. The resort town is popular with Western tourists and Egyptians alike during the holiday season.

At about 19:15 Egypt summer time on 24 April 2006 — a public holiday in celebration of Sham el Nessim (Spring festival) — a series of bombs exploded in tourist areas of Dahab, a resort located on the Gulf of Aqaba coast of the Sinai Peninsula. One blast occurred in or near the Nelson restaurant, one near the Aladdin café (both being on both sides of the bridge), and one near the Ghazala market.

These explosions followed other bombings elsewhere in the Sinai Peninsula in previous years: in Sharm el-Sheikh on 23 July 2005 and in Taba on 6 October 2004.

2014 Taba bus bombing

The 2014 Taba bus bombing was a terrorist attack on a tourist coach in Taba, Egypt on 16 February 2014. The bus had been parked, waiting to cross into Israel at the Taba Border Crossing, when a lone suicide bomber entered the open bus and detonated his explosives. Four people – three South Koreans and the Egyptian bus driver were killed, and 17 others injured.The attack was seen as marking a potential shift in the strategy of jihadist groups in the Sinai insurgency by broadening their campaign against Egyptian security forces to include tourists.

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (Arabic: أَنْصَارُ بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِس‎ Anṣār Bayt al-Maqdis, "Supporters of the Holy House"), or Ansar Al-Quds ("Supporters of Jerusalem"), was the name of a jihadist extremist militant group based in Egypt.

From 2011 to 2013, Ansar Bait al-Maqdis operated in the Sinai Peninsula, focused its efforts on Egypt and the gas pipeline to Jordan, with a handful attacks directed towards Israel. In mid-2013, it began a campaign of attacks on Egyptian security forces, and in November 2014 the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Most of the group became a branch of ISIL, renaming itself ISIL-Sinai Province.

August 2012 Sinai attack

The August 2012 Sinai attack occurred on 5 August 2012, when armed men ambushed an Egyptian military base in the Sinai Peninsula, killing 16 soldiers and stealing two armored cars, which they used to infiltrate into Israel. The attackers broke through the Kerem Shalom border crossing to Israel, where one of the vehicles exploded. They then engaged in a firefight with soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, during which six of the attackers were killed. No Israelis were injured.

The attack led to sharp condemnations from Israeli and Egyptian authorities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences for the Egyptian soldiers killed, and praised IDF troops for their preparedness and handling of the attack. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that the incident should be a "wake up call" for Egypt in dealing with terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula, while Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi vowed to retake the Sinai Peninsula and declared three days of mourning. The Egyptian government also closed the Rafah Border Crossing to the Gaza Strip.

Biblical Mount Sinai

According to the Book of Exodus, Mount Sinai (Hebrew: הַר סִינַי‬, Har Sinai) is the mountain at which the Ten Commandments were given to Moses by God. In the Book of Deuteronomy, these events are described as having transpired at Mount Horeb. "Sinai" and "Horeb" are generally considered to refer to the same place by scholars.Hebrew Bible texts describe the theophany at Mount Sinai in terms which a minority of scholars, following Charles Beke (1873), have suggested may literally describe the mountain as a volcano and have led to a search for alternative locations.

Bnei Atzmon

Bnei Atzmon (Hebrew: בְּנֵי עַצְמוֹן) was an Israeli settlement previously in the Sinai Peninsula, later moved to the Gaza Strip before being destroyed in 2005.


Dahab (Egyptian Arabic: دهب‎, IPA: [ˈdæhæb], "gold") is a small town on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, approximately 80 km (50 mi) northeast of Sharm el-Sheikh. Formerly a Bedouin fishing village, Dahab is now considered to be one of Sinai's most treasured diving destinations. Following the Six-Day War, Sinai was occupied by Israel and Dahab became known as Di-Zahav (Hebrew: די זהב‎), after a place mentioned in the Bible as one of the stations for the Israelites during the Exodus from Egypt. The Sinai Peninsula was restored to Egyptian rule under the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1982. The arrival of international hotel chains and the establishment of other ancillary facilities has since made the town a popular destination with tourists. Dahab is served by Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport. Masbat (within Dahab) is a popular diving destination, and there are many (50+) dive centers located within Dahab. Most of Dahab's diving spots are shore dives.

Dahab can be divided into three major parts. Masbat, which includes the Bedouin village Asalah, is in the north. South of Masbat is Mashraba, which is more touristic and has considerably more hotels. In the southwest is Medina which includes the Laguna area, famous for its excellent shallow-water windsurfing.

The region of Asalah is quite developed and has many camps and hostels. Most people who have visited Dahab in the past were backpackers interested in diving and snorkeling in the Red Sea.

Gulf of Suez

The Gulf of Suez (Arabic: خليج السويس‎, romanized: khalīǧ as-suwais; formerly بحر القلزم, baḥar al-qulzum, lit. "Sea of Calm") is a gulf at the northern end of the Red Sea, to the west of the Sinai Peninsula. Situated to the east of the Sinai Peninsula is the smaller Gulf of Aqaba. The gulf was formed within a relatively young but now inactive Gulf of Suez Rift rift basin, dating back about 26 million years. It stretches some 300 kilometres (190 mi) north by northwest, terminating at the Egyptian city of Suez and the entrance to the Suez Canal. Along the mid-line of the gulf is the boundary between Africa and Asia. The entrance of the gulf lies atop the mature Gemsa oil and gas field.

Holiest sites in Islam

There are holy sites, which are mentioned or referred to in the Quran, that are considered holy to Islam. Mecca and Medina in the Hejaz are the two holiest cities in Islam, unanimous among all sects. In the Islamic tradition, the Kaaba in Mecca is considered the holiest site, followed by the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, and apart from them, Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is held in high esteem.Many different sites have been labelled as fourth Holiest, including the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Great Mosque of Kairouan in Kairouan, Sanctuary of Abraham in Hebron, Bukhara, Eyüp district in Istanbul, and Harar.

Hypericum sinaicum

Hypericum sinaicum is a perennial herb in the genus Hypericum, in the section Adenosepalum.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province (Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام – ولاية سيناء‎, ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām – Wilayah Sīnāʼ), or ISIL-SP, is a militant Islamist group active in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt.

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (ABM) has been part of the Sinai insurgency and had been especially active in the Sinai since 2011 after the deterioration of security there, focusing its efforts on Israel and the Arab gas pipeline to Jordan. After former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was deposed in the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état, Egypt also began conducting a crackdown on jihadist groups in Sinai and elsewhere. ABM and other jihadist groups intensified their campaign of attacks on Egyptian security forces. On 13 November 2014, ABM pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and adopted the name Sinai Province (Wilayah Sīnāʼ) claiming to be a branch of ISIL.The leader of the group is Abu Osama al-Masri, but not much personal information is available.

Israeli-occupied territories

The Israeli-occupied territories refers to the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967 and sometimes also to areas of Southern Lebanon, where Israeli military was notably present to support local Lebanese militias during the civil war and after it. Originally, those territories included the Syrian Golan Heights, the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip and Jordanian-annexed West Bank. The first use of the term 'territories occupied' was in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 following the Six-Day War in 1967, which called for "the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" to be achieved by "the application of both the following principles: ... Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict ... Termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries. In addition to the territories occupied following the Six-Day War, Israel also occupied portions of Southern Lebanon following the 1982 Lebanon War, and maintained a military presence there until withdrawing in 2000.

From 1967 to 1981, the four areas were governed under the Israeli Military Governorate, referred to by the UN as occupied Arab territories. The IMG was dissolved in 1981, after the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty. In the process, Israel handed the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, the Golan Heights was incorporated into the Northern District by the Golan Heights Law, and West Bank continued to be administrated via the Israeli Civil Administration, which the UN continued to refer to as the occupied Arab territories. Despite dissolving the military government, in line with Egyptian demands, the term Occupied Arab territories had remained in use, referring to the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and Western Golan Heights. From 1999 to early 2013, the term Palestinian territories, Occupied became utilized to refer to territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council regards Israel as the "Occupying Power". UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk called Israel's occupation "an affront to international law." The Israeli High Court of Justice has ruled that Israel holds the West Bank under "belligerent occupation". According to Talia Sasson, the High Court of Justice in Israel, with a variety of different justices sitting, has repeatedly stated for more than four decades that international law applies to Israel's presence in the West Bank. Israeli governments have preferred the term "disputed territories" in the case of the West Bank. Officially Israel maintains that the West Bank is disputed territory.Israel asserts that since the disengagement of Israel from Gaza in 2005, Israel no longer occupies the Gaza Strip. However, as it retained certain control of Gaza's airspace and coastline, as of 2012 it continued to be designated as an occupying power in the Gaza Strip by the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly and some countries and various human rights organizations.


An isthmus ( or ; plural: isthmuses; from Ancient Greek: ἰσθμός, romanized: isthmós, lit. 'neck') is a narrow piece of land connecting two larger areas across an expanse of water by which they are otherwise separated. A tombolo is an isthmus that consists of a spit or bar, and a strait is the sea counterpart of an isthmus.

Canals are often built across isthmuses, where they may be a particularly advantageous shortcut for marine transport. For example, the Panama Canal crosses the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; the Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, cutting across the western side of the Isthmus of Suez, formed by the Sinai Peninsula; and the Crinan Canal crosses the isthmus between Loch Crinan and Loch Gilp, which connects the Kintyre peninsula with the rest of Scotland. Another example is the Welland Canal in the Niagara Peninsula (technically an isthmus). It connects Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. The city of Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand is situated on an isthmus.

Isthmus of Suez

The Isthmus of Suez is the 75-mile-wide (125-km) strip of land that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, and is the boundary between the continents of Africa and Asia. Beneath it runs the Suez Rift, dividing mainland Egypt and Africa from the Sinai Peninsula. It is located within the country of Egypt, geographically linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Like many other isthmuses, it is a location of great strategic and historical value, most notably the presence of the Suez Canal.

July 2015 Sinai clashes

On 1 July 2015, the IS-affiliated Sinai Province militant group launched the largest scale battle the Sinai Peninsula has seen since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, killing 21 soldiers in the numerous attacks which targeted multiple Egyptian army checkpoints and the Sheikh Zuweid police station in the Sinai Peninsula. More than 100 militants were reportedly killed by the army during the battle.

Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai (Arabic: طُوْر سِيْنَاء‎, romanized: Ṭūr Sīnāʾ or Egyptian Arabic: جَبَل مُوسَىٰ‎, romanized: Jabal Mūsā, lit. 'Mountain of Moses'; Hebrew: הַר סִינַי, Har Sinai; Classical Syriac: ܛܘܪܐ ܕܣܝܢܝ‎ ; Greek: Όρος Σινάι; Latin: Mons Sinai), also known as "Mount Horeb" or Gabal Mūsā (Egyptian Arabic: جَبَل مُوْسَى‎, lit. 'Mountain of Moses'), is a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt that is a possible location of the biblical Mount Sinai, which is considered a holy site by the Abrahamic religions. Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus and other books of the Bible, and the Quran. According to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition, the biblical Mount Sinai was the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

October 2014 Sinai attacks

On 24 October 2014, ISIL militants launched two attacks on Egyptian army positions in the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 33 security personnel. This was one of the deadliest assaults on the Egyptian military in decades.The first attack in Sheikh Zuweid killed at least 30 soldiers, while the second one (which took place three hours later near Al-Arish) killed three soldiers. The incidents prompted Egypt's president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to call for a security meeting, during which a three-months state of emergency and curfew were announced. In addition, the Rafah border crossing with Gaza was closed, a buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt will be initiated, a Hamas delegation was refused entry into Egypt, and peace talks between Israel and Gaza were postponed.

Operation Sinai (2012)

Operation Sinai is an ongoing Egyptian military campaign, launched in early August 2012, against Islamic militants within the Sinai Peninsula to crush the Sinai Insurgency. The operation came as a direct response to the 2012 Egyptian-Israeli border attack on 5 August 2012. The operation was initially reported as part of "Operation Nisr" (Operation Eagle), but on 3 September 2012, the Egyptian army issued a statement requesting media sources to use the official name "Operation Sinai."

Raid on Bir el Hassana

The Raid on Bir el Hassana (Hasna) occurred in the Sinai Peninsula in February 1917, during World War I. It was a minor action between an augmented battalion of the Imperial Camel Corps on the one side and a score of Turkish troops plus some armed Bedouin on the other. The raid is only notable because it occasioned the first aeromedical evacuation in the British Army, and possibly in history.

The raid was the third of three battles, if one may call it a battle, by British forces seeking to recapture the Sinai Peninsula during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I. Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) cavalry and camelry traveled into the centre of the Sinai Peninsula to attack and push the last Turkish garrisons back into Palestine.

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