The Mitla Pass (Arabic: ممر متلة, Hebrew: מיתלה) is a 480 meter-high, 32 km-long snaky pass in the Sinai of Egypt, wedged between mountain ranges to the north and south, located about 50 km east of Suez. It is the monotonous ride through here and Nekhel, a wilderness that provides the shortest route between Nuweiba and Cairo. Buses carrying tourist to Mount Sinai, St. Catherine's Monastery, and Feiran Oasis travel through here.
Mitla Pass is a site of major battles between the militaries of Egypt and Israel during the wars of 1956, 1967, and 1973. During the last of these, on October 14, 1973, the Egyptians tried to reach the pass with elements of their Fourth Armored Division, but their offensive was halted by IDF armor and air power. Figures of Egyptian tank losses vary with the source consulted. The Two O'Clock War gives the Israeli figure but the Egyptian one is lower.
Mitla incident during the Suez War
During the Israeli invasion of Egypt in the Suez War of 1956 the pass was captured by the 202nd Brigade of the Israeli army, commanded by Ariel Sharon, without the approval of the Israeli leadership. Sharon faced elements of the Egyptian 2nd Brigade, which had prepared an ambush within the pass. Egyptians pinned down such famous Israelis as Mordechai Gur and Uri Dan under fire throughout the afternoon of October 31, 1956. Aharon Davidi and Rafael Eitan sent in two companies to clear Egyptians from both sides of the pass between 6:00pm and 9:00pm that evening. Israelis suffered 40 casualties and about 120 wounded, while Egyptians had 260 dead. Sharon was criticized for this. See Ariel Sharon: Mitla incident.
- Richardson, Dan (2013). Sinai Rough Guides Snapshot Egypt (includes Sharm el-Sheikh, Na'ama Bay, Ras Mohammed, Dahab, Mount Sinai and St Catherine's Monastery). Penguin. ISBN 9781409336174. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
- Richardson, Dan (2003). Egypt. Rough Guides. ISBN 9781843530503. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
- Bar-On, Mordechai (June 26, 2012). Moshe Dayan: Israel's Controversial Hero. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300183252. Retrieved 1 November 2016.