North Sinai Governorate

North Sinai Governorate (Arabic: محافظة شمال سيناء Muḥāfẓet Shamāl Sīnāʾ) is one of the governorates of Egypt. It is located in the north-eastern part of the country, and encompasses the northern half of the Sinai Peninsula. It is bordered in the north by the Mediterranean Sea, in the south by South Sinai Governorate, in the west by Port Said, Ismailia, and Suez Governorates,[4] and in the east by the Gaza Strip in Palestine (Rafah Governorate) and Israel (Southern District). Its capital is the city of El Arish. A governorate is administered by a governor, who is appointed by the President of Egypt and serves at the president's discretion.

North Sinai Governorate
Arish fort, 1916
Arish fort, 1916
Flag of North Sinai Governorate
Official logo of North Sinai Governorate
North Sinai Governorate on the map of Egypt
North Sinai Governorate on the map of Egypt
Coordinates: 30°30′N 33°36′E / 30.5°N 33.6°E / 30.5; 33.6
Country Egypt
SeatArish (capital)
 • GovernorMohamed Abdel-Fadil Shousha[1]
 • Total27,574 km2 (10,646 sq mi)
 (January 2023)[2]
 • Total504,201
 • Density18/km2 (47/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
HDI (2021)0.738[3]
high · 10th

North Sinai has a rich history dating back to ancient times and is home to several ancient settlements that hold significant historical and Biblical importance – Ostrakine and Kasion, both of which served as a border city between Egypt and Syria and an important bishopric in the Byzantine era; Kadesh Barnea, an important site, with its history tied to the events described in the Bible.

The population of the North Sinai Governorate as at 2015 was 434,781 people, comprising predominantly Bedouin tribesmen. The Governorate covers an area of 27,574 square kilometers. The population density is 15 inhabitants per square kilometer.

A significant economic activity of the Bedouin tribes has been smuggling. They have been active smuggling into the Gaza Strip supplies and weapons using cross-border tunnels as well as assisting illegal migrants into Israel. These activities have been curtailed by the Egyptian government crackdown of smuggling into the Gaza Strip and by the building of the Egypt–Israel barrier.

North Sinai has since 2011 been especially affected by the Sinai insurgency and measures by government forces to combat it,[5] which has resulted in many casualties. On October 14, 2016 twelve Egyptian troops were killed at a checkpoint near El Arish.[6] On November 27, 2017 a mosque in the village of Al-Rawda was attacked by roughly 40 gunmen, killing at least 305 and injuring up to 128 others, making it the deadliest terror attack in Egyptian history.[7][8]

Municipal divisionsEdit

The governorate is divided into municipal divisions for administrative purposes with a total estimated population as of January 2023 of 504,201.[2]

Municipal Divisions
Anglicized name Native name Arabic transliteration Population
(January 2023 Est.)
El Arish 1 قسم أول العريش Al-'Arīsh 1 60,219 Kism (urban and rural parts)
El Arish 2 قسم ثان العريش Al-'Arīsh 2 70,856 Kism (fully urban)
El Arish 3 قسم ثالث العريش Al-'Arīsh 3 47,701 Kism (fully urban)
El Arish 4 قسم رابع العريش Al-'Arīsh 4 29,343 Kism (urban and rural parts)
El Hassana قسم الحسنة Al-Ḥasanah 21,213 Kism (urban and rural parts)
Sheikh Zuweid قسم الشيخ زويد Ash-Shaykh Zuwayd 65,964 Kism (urban and rural parts)
Bir El Abd قسم بئر العبد B'īr al-'Abd 60,827 Kism (urban and rural parts)
Nakhl قسم نخل Nakhl 6,662 Kism (urban and rural parts)
Rafah قسم رفح Rafaḥ 82,793 Kism (urban and rural parts)
Shurtet El Qasima قسم القسيمة Al-Qasīmah 13,331 Kism (fully rural)
Shurtet Rumana قسم رمانة Rumānah 45,292 Kism (fully rural)


Historical population
1937 18,011—    
1947 37,670+109.1%
1957 —    
1966 131,000—    
1976 —    
1986 171,505—    
1996 252,160+47.0%
2006 343,681+36.3%
2015 434,781+26.5%
2017 451,990+4.0%
2018 457,000+1.1%
2023 504,201+10.3%

According to population estimates, in 2015 the majority of residents in the governorate lived in urban areas, with an urbanization rate of 60.2%. Out of an estimated total of 434,781 people, 261,686 people lived in urban areas and 173,095 lived in rural areas.[11]

Counties and citiesEdit

North Sinai is divided into six markaz (counties), each with an eponymous city as their capitals.[13]

Industrial zonesEdit

According to the Egyptian Governing Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), in affiliation with the Ministry of Investment (MOI), the following industrial zones are located in the governorate:[14]

  • Bir Al Abd
  • Al Masa’eed Artisans
  • Heavy industrial zone - Arish


  • Muhammad Abdul Mun'em El Qirmani (May 1974-November 1976)[15]
  • Fu'ad Ibrahim Nassar (November 1976-November 1978)[15]
  • Muhammad Hussein Shawkat (November 1978-May 1980)[15]
  • Youssef Sabri Abu Taleb (May 1980-August 1982)[15]
  • Mounir Ahmad Shash (September 1982-January 1996)[15]
  • Muhammad Dasouqi El Ghayati (January 1996-July 1997)[15]
  • Ali Hifzi Muhammad (July 1997-November 1999)[15]
  • Ahmad Abdul Hamid Muhammad (November 1999-April 2008)[15]
  • Abdel Fadil Shousha (April 2008-January 2010)[15]
  • Murad Muwafi (January 2010-January 2011)[15]
  • Sayyid Abdul Wahhab Mabrouk (30 January 2011 – 8 August 2012)[15]
  • Abdul Fattah Harhour (4 September 2012 – 30 August 2018)[15]
  • Abdel Fadil Shousha (second term) (August 2018-)[16]


  1. ^ "Egypt names six provincial governors, mostly ex-generals" رسمياً.. المحافظون الجدد ونوابهم يؤدون اليمين الدستورية أمام الرئيس. Almasry Alyoum (in Arabic). 30 August 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-08-31. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  2. ^ a b c (PDF) Retrieved 3 April 2023. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Subnational HDI - Table - Global Data Lab". Retrieved 2023-02-20.
  4. ^ "State Information Service". Archived from the original on 2015-02-07. Retrieved 2015-02-07.
  5. ^ IRIN: Economic life slows to a crawl amid crackdown in North Sinai Archived 2015-02-07 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ SWEILAM, Ashraf (October 14, 2016). "Militant attack kills 12 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai". AP. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Egypt's Mufti performs Friday prayers at Rawdah mosque - Egypt Today". Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  8. ^ Walsh, Declan; Youssef, Nour (24 November 2017). "Militants Kill 305 at Sufi Mosque in Egypt's Deadliest Terrorist Attack". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  9. ^ "اPop. Estimates by Governorate 1/1/2018". Archived from the original on 2018-11-02.
  10. ^ "North Sinai Governorates Subdivisions". Archived from the original on 2018-11-25. Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  11. ^ a b "Population Estimates By Sex & Governorate 1/1/2015" (PDF). CAPMAS. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-10-19. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  12. ^ Law, Gwillim (November 23, 1999). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 Through 1998. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-6097-7.
  13. ^ "Map of North Sinai". Retrieved 2023-01-21.
  14. ^ "Industrial Zones of Governorate". Ministry of Investment Egypt. Archived from the original on 2018-11-23. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "المحافظون السابقون". Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  16. ^ نصار, محمد (30 August 2018). "بعد 10 أعوام.. اللواء محمد عبدالفضيل شوشة يعود محافظًا لشمال سيناء". مصراوي. Retrieved 9 July 2020.

External linksEdit