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 government, 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 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, which has resulted in many casualties. On October 14, 2016 twelve Egyptian troops were killed at a checkpoint near El Arish. 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.
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.