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Territory, southeastern Mediterranean Sea coast. Area: sq mi ( sq km). Population: . The region lies northeast of the Sinai Peninsula and is also the location of the city of Gaza, which has been a prosperous trading centre for much of its history and was first mentioned in the 15th century BCE. Often besieged by invaders, including Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians, it declined in importance after the Crusades. It was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century. After World War I (1914–18) the city and the strip became part of the British mandate of Palestine. Following the first Arab-Israeli war (1948–49), the territory was occupied by Egypt, and the city became that country's headquarters in Palestine. The occupied area was later reduced to an area 25 mi (40 km) long, which became known as the Gaza Strip, still under Egyptian control. In the Six-Day War (1967) it was captured by Israel. The area's chief economic problem was the extreme poverty of the large number of Palestinian Arab refugees living there. In 1987, rioting among Gaza's Palestinians marked the beginning of the first intifadah. Continued unrest led in 1993 to an agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization granting limited self-rule to the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. A breakdown in further negotiations in 2000 led to another outbreak of violence. In an attempt to stem the fighting, Israel withdrew all its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and control of the territory was transferred to the Palestinians.