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One of the largest neighborhoods of the Gaza Strip, considered the eastern key to the Strip, and had a role in many wars that passed through the region, starting with the Crusades and passing through the First World War and ending with the Israeli wars on Gaza, and formed the starting point for a large number of Palestinian parties and organizations.


Al-Shujaiya neighborhood is located in the eastern Gaza Strip, with an area of 14305,110 dunums (one dunam equals one thousand square meters), with a population of more than 2015,<> people (<> census).

It includes the largest market for clothes and household goods in Gaza, known as "Shujaiya Square", and the Friday market, which is often frequented by livestock and sheep traders, is held every week.

Date of Establishment

The history of the establishment of the Shujaiya neighborhood dates back to the Ayyubid era, and was named after "Shuja al-Kurdi", who was martyred in the Great Battle of Gaza between the Ayyubids and the Crusaders in 1239 AD.

It is divided into two parts: the Turkmen neighborhood in the south relative to the Turkmen clans who settled there during the reign of the Ayyubid Sultan Al-Salih Ayyub in the 13th century AD, and the Kurdish neighborhood in the north, who settled in the area coming especially from Mosul.

Historical battles

Al-Muntar Hill, 85 meters above sea level, has given strategic importance to the neighborhood, turning it into an important military outpost, and making it the key to Gaza City.

Napoleon Bonaparte's troops encamped on this hill, where thousands of Allied soldiers were killed during World War I, all buried in a cemetery in the region.

The Shujaiya neighborhood played a major role during the 1967 battles and witnessed the start of the first Palestinian intifada in 1987. In October 1987, the neighborhood became the scene of armed confrontations between the Palestinian resistance and the occupation forces, at which time clashes resulted in the death of an Israeli officer and the death of four resistance members.

This day is called the "Battle of Shujaiya". The neighborhood continued to remain steadfast until the Israeli occupation declared its failure and entered into negotiations with the Palestinian side.


The Ahmed bin Othman Mosque or "Great Mosque", which is located at the entrance to the Old City, is the largest mosque in the neighborhood, and includes the tomb of one of the Mamluks of Sultan Barquq, called "Yalkhja".

There are also several other historical mosques in the neighborhood, including the "Al-Hawashi" Mosque, the "Sayyeda Ruqayya" Mosque and the "Ali bin Marwan" Mosque.

The World War I cemetery is 2000,<> meters north of Shujaiya, and to the east lies the cemetery of "Al-Tunisi". In Shujaiya there is a tomb said to belong to the famous mighty Samson.

Shujaiya neighborhood massacres

The Israeli army committed a massacre against the neighborhood on May 1, 2003, after Israeli forces infiltrated the neighborhood with armored vehicles, including a hundred tanks and the cover of warplanes, targeting the Abu Hein family home, which was inhabited by a number of commanders of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

The resistance resisted this incursion and brought the vanguard of the infiltrating force among the dead and wounded, which led the occupation to call in more forces and impose a siege on the house, and the distribution of snipers on the roofs of neighboring houses.

The battle lasted for more than 16 hours amid the support of the Qassam Brigades from several axes, and this operation resulted in the martyrdom of 13 citizens, the injury and arrest of dozens, in addition to the martyrdom of some fighters of the battalions.

Israel carried out another massacre at dawn on February 11, 2004, leaving 15 dead and 44 injured, including 18 children and a boy under the age of <>.

The neighborhood was the target of repeated airstrikes and an area of intense clashes between the resistance and the occupation forces during the ground incursion, during Israel's aggression against the Gaza Strip during 2008 and 2009, and also during the aggression on the Gaza Strip in 2014.

It was also the scene of another massacre that killed more than 75 martyrs, and hundreds of wounded, most of them women and children, in addition to the extermination of entire families, after indiscriminate shelling with more than 100 Israeli shells targeted homes in the neighborhood, causing the bodies and remains of martyrs to spread in the streets and under the rubble and completely destroying homes, shops and roads. Similar attacks were repeated in the 2021 war.

Violent raids on the neighborhood were renewed in the 2023 war, which is - in relation to the previous wars - the most violent on the Gaza Strip, and was described as a "genocidal war", as the Israeli occupation forces committed many horrific massacres, including the Shujaiya massacre, during which they bombed 50 residential buildings and houses, killing and injuring hundreds of citizens.


The fertility rate in the Shujaiya neighborhood is among the highest in the world, with an average of eight to 16 members per family, and the neighborhood receives about ten thousand newborns every year.

The Shujaiya neighborhood acquires an important place in Palestinian history because it was the historical headquarters of the launch of most factions, as it witnessed the early beginnings of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and it is the headquarters of Islamic movements, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

His sons include several Qassam Brigades commanders, most notably Ahmad al-Jabari, the Brigades' deputy commander-in-chief, who was assassinated by Israeli shelling on November 14, 2012.

The neighborhood also included prominent people on the Palestinian scene, such as Maryam Farhat, nicknamed "Khansa Palestine" and also known as "um Nidal", who gave three of her sons as martyrs, and died in 2013 in Shifa Hospital after suffering from illness.

The poet of the Palestinian revolution, Mouin Bseiso, who was born there, also hails from the Shujaiya neighborhood, and the families of the neighborhood provided many martyrs and detainees and were also always in the front lines of the resistance against the Israeli occupation.

Source : Al Jazeera + Websites