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1967 Middle East War
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Tensions rise in May as UN troops withdraw and Egypt deploys troops in the Sinai and Gaza
Ariel Sharon in the Negev (left); Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif; King Hussein of Jordan

The 1967 Middle East War, also known as the Six Day War, was the third conflict between Israel and neighbouring Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

The first, in 1948, left East Jerusalem and the River Jordan's West Bank under Jordanian control and the coastal Gaza Strip under Egyptian control.

In 1956, Israel captured the Gaza Strip and Egypt's Sinai peninsula. Israel was forced to leave the Sinai the following year and a United Nations Emergency Force (Unef) was deployed.

Tensions continued to rise and newly-formed Palestinian militant groups began cross-border raids with Arab support. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was keen to unite the Arab world and spoke of "the destruction of Israel", while Israel feared it could be wiped out.

In May 1967, President Nasser demanded the removal of Unef troops from the Sinai, closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and signed a defence pact with Jordan. Some historians question whether Nasser planned to go to war, but all three factors, and Egyptian troop deployment in the Sinai, led to a pre-emptive strike by Israel.


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