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The city of Gaza is the principal city in the Gaza Strip. It sometimes called Gaza City to distinguish it from the Gaza Strip. It has a population of about 400,000. It is currently under the control of the Palestinian Authority, which took it over from Israel following the 1993 Oslo Accords.
The word's original meaning is unclear. Some authorities derive it from Hebrew ʿAzzāh "strong"; however, the ʿ in ʿAzzāh is original (from proto-Semitic *`zz), whereas the ` in Azza derives from original Ġ. The oldest attested records naming Gaza are ancient Egyptian, in which it it variously transcribed as q-d-t or g-d-t, in an attempt to render the Canaanite sounds gh and z not found in the Egyptian of that period. The Tell el-Amarna tablets call it Qazati. 5th-century BC Babylonian records call it Ḫazatu. In ancient Greek, it was termed Γάζα. In Hebrew, its pronunciation shifted from *Ġazzāh to Tiberian Hebrew ʿAzzāh around the first century AD, when the uvular fricatives were lost under the influence of other Semitic languages. The Arabic form Ghazzah may derive from the Greek name. The earliest surviving written attestation of the name "Gaza" in Arabic may be the Nessana bilingual entagion of 674 AD (54 AH), although the name is mentioned in pre-Islamic traditions.
The earliest known reference to the city was by the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III in the 15th century BC. It is also mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna tablets. The exact site of ancient Gaza is not known.
Modern Gaza was built in the time of Herod the Great. In biblical times Gaza was one of the major cities of the Philistines. The Philistine city was built on a hill about 150 feet (45 meters) above sea level, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the Mediterranean Sea. It was a walled city of about 200 acres (80 hectares). It came successively under the control of the Israelites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Persians.
Gaza has one airport, Gaza International Airport. It is currently closed.
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