Ashkelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Tel Aviv, and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age. In the course of its history, it has been ruled by the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Israelites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Persians, the Egyptians and the Crusaders, until it was destroyed by the Mamluks in 1270. The Arab village of al-Majdal, was established nearby in the 16th century, under Ottoman's own rule.
In 1918, Ashkelon became part of the British Mandate for Palestine. In the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Majdal was the forward position of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force based in Gaza. The village was occupied by Israeli forces on 5 November 1948, by which time most of the Arab population of 11,000 had been forced to leave. In 2010, the population of Ashkelon was 112,900