9/7/1916 The battle for Mecca

Sharif Hussein of Mecca has risen in revolt against his Turkish masters. Hussein is allied to Britain. With their help he hopes to create a large Arab state, led by himself. First though he must secure the Hejaz, the region of western Arabia in which he resides. In Mecca itself, a Turkish garrison has been holding out on a hilltop fort outside the town.

The Turks have been shelling Mecca from their fort in an effort to drive out the rebels. However the Turkish shells have fallen indiscriminately across Mecca, with several landing on the Great Mosque, setting fire to the covering of the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine. The Turkish shells fail to dislodge the rebels but they hand a propaganda boon to the them. The shelling of the Kaaba undercuts Turkish claims to be fighting a Jihad that all Muslims should support.

Eventually the Turkish fort runs out of food and ammunition. Today the Turks surrender. The rebels now have uncontested control of Islam’s most holy city.

image source:

Mecca in the early 20th century (Today in World War I)

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