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Shuja'iyya is a district of the Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 city of Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 east of the city center, situated on a hill, located across the main Salah ad-Din Road that runs north-south throughout the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

. It boasts Gaza's largest market which specializes mostly in clothes and household goods. Midan Shuja'iyya ("Shuja'iyya Square") is located at the entrance of the neighborhood from the Old City. Omar Mukhtar Street
Omar Mukhtar Street
Omar Mukhtar Street is Gaza City's main street, running from Palestine Square to the Port of Gaza in the Rimal district, separating the Old City's al-Daraj and Zaytoun quarters. Gaza's hotel strip is a part of Omar Mukhtar Street and most of Gaza's most important buildings are located along the...

 starts in the district and ends in Rimal
Rimal or Remal is a district in Gaza located from the city center. Situated along the coastline, it has been considered the most prosperous neighborhood in Gaza. The main street that runs through Gaza, Omar Mukhtar Street runs northwest-southeast in the district and the main coastal road, Ahmad...



Shuja'iyya dates from the Ayyubid period in Gaza, named after Shuja' al-Din Uthman al-Kurdi, an Ayyubid emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

("commander") who died fighting against the Crusader
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

s. The district is the first extension of Gaza beyond its Old City, and was a mixed quarter, as opposed to other quarters of Gaza. It was generally a commercial district, but also partially residential. During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, the neighborhood's houses were poorly built and its roads were narrow and unpaved. However, it also boasted many extravagant mosques and Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 sanctuaries. The 14th-century Ibn Uthman Mosque
Ibn Uthman Mosque
The Ibn Uthman Mosque is one of the oldest and largest mosques in Gaza located in the Shuja'iyya district. It is noted for its architectural patterns. It was established at different stages during the Mamluk period of rule in the city, and eventually finished in the late 14th-century by Ahmed ibn...

 and al-Zufurdimri Mosque are located in Shuja'iyya.

Being built outside the city's wall, Shuja'iyya had more potential to grow than the al-Daraj
Al-Daraj or Haraat al-Daraj is the densely populated northern quarter of Gaza's old city. Its name translates as "Quarter of the Steps." Situated on an oblong hill about above sea level and higher than any other area in the city, al-Daraj likely received its name either from stairs that once led...

, Zaytoun, and the al-Tuffah
At-Tuffah is a district of Gaza City, located northeast of the Old City and is divided into eastern and western halves.At-Tuffah has existed since Mamluk rule over Gaza in the 15th-century. According to Ottoman tax records, it was a small district containing 57 households...

 quarters. It eventually grew to become the largest neighborhood in Gaza. It was divided into separate northern and southern parts along ethnic lines. The southern part of the area is called al-Turkuman because of the concentration of Turkmen
Turkmen people
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and northeastern Iran. They speak the Turkmen language, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz branch of the Turkic languages family together with Turkish, Azerbaijani, Qashqai,...

 tribes who settled there during the reign of Ayyubid sultan as-Salih Ayyub
As-Salih Ayyub
Al-Malik as-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub , also known as al-Malik al-Salih was the Ayyubid ruler of Egypt from 1240 to 1249.-Biography:...

 between 1240-49. The northern part was called al-Judaida or Saja'iyya al-Akrad. It was populated by Kurd
Kürd or Kyurd or Kyurt may refer to:*Kürd Eldarbəyli, Azerbaijan*Kürd Mahrızlı, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Goychay, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Jalilabad, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Qabala, Azerbaijan*Qurdbayram, Azerbaijan...

s originally from the Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

 area. The Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 census of 1525 shows a relatively equal population of Turks and Kurds, with 89 and 90 households, respectively. The Jews were the single largest ethnic group with 95 households, while the Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s had 82. In 1538, however, the Kurdish and Turkmen populations grew dramatically, especially the former. The Kurds had 278 households while the Turks had 181. In 1549, the Kurdish population grew sharply to 406 houses, while the Turkmens maintained a steady growth to 195 houses. The remnants of Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

 military units resided in their own separate small community in Shuja'iyya. Their population consisted of 44 households in 1557 which dwindled to 66 persons in 1597.

There are several ancient structures, mosques and tombs. The Commonwealth War Cemetery is located 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of the commercial center of the neighborhood.

Modern era

On October 6, 1987, just prior to the outbreak of the First Intifada
First Intifada
The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

, Shuja'iyya was the site of an armed confrontation between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine
The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine known in the West as simply Palestinian Islamic Jihad , is a small Palestinian militant organization. The group has been labelled as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel...

 and the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 (IDF). The clash resulted in the death of an IDF officer and four Islamic Jihad militants, and the day has been commemorated by the latter as the "Battle of Shuja'iyya". On the first anniversary of the operation, in 1988, the Islamic Jihad called for a general strike against Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...


The Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

-aligned Hilles clan
Hilles clan
The Hilles clan is a Palestinian extended family that became known in 2008 for its violent conflict with the de facto Hamas military government in the Gaza Strip...

 carried influence in Shuja'iyya until Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 police claimed that they were hiding suspects of a previous bombing in the city, consequently resulting in clashes between police forces and clan members, resulting in nine deaths and causing several men from the Hilles clan to leave the neighborhood for resettlement in the West Bank. It has been a frequent target in Israel's airstrikes of the Gaza Strip
2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict
The Gaza War, known as Operation Cast Lead in Israel and as the Gaza Massacre in the Arab world, was a three-week bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel, and hundreds of rocket attacks on south of Israel which...

, which killed several Hamas security forces and destroyed the local police station. A coalition of Hamas and Islamic Jihad forces battled intensely with the IDF days after the airstrikes. The neighborhood is a long-term Hamas stronghold. Hamas claimed to have lost three fighters, including a local commander after an Israeli airstrike and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades lost a fighter after ambushing undercover Israeli forces in the district.

The Municipality of Gaza is implementing a project to enhance the district. It aims to improve the environment and living conditions of its citizens, by widening, restoring, and repairing roads in Shuja'iyya. There is also development of land located on Salah ad-Din Street, known as Park al-Bastat Shuja'iyya.