Two important World War II battles were fought in the area.
At the First Battle of El Alamein (July 1 -- July 27, 1942)
the advance of Axis troops on Alexandria was blunted by the Allies, when the German Panzers tried to outflank the allied position.
At the Second Battle of El Alamein (October 23 -- November 4, 1942)
Allied forces broke the Axis line and forced them all the way back to Tunisia.