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Subject: Arab tribes in Iraq, Rashidi dynasty, Emirate of Jabal Shammar, Bedouin, Articles for deletion/Sheiks Chemor
Collection: Bedouin Groups, Tribes of Arabia, Tribes of Iraq
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The tribe of Shammar (Arabic: شمّر Šammar) is a Qahtanite Bedouin Arab tribe, descended from the ancient tribe of Tayy. It is one of the largest and most influential Arab tribes, with an estimated 4 million members in the world; 3 million in Iraq, over 1.5 million in Saudi Arabia (concentrated in Ha'il), a Syrian population is thought to exceed 0.5 million along, with an unknown number in Jordan.[1] The current seat of the tribe's leadership is in the city of Mosul, in Northern Iraq. In its "golden age", around 1850, the tribe ruled much of central and northern Arabia from Riyadh to the frontiers of Syria and the vast area known as Al Jazira in Northern Iraq.

One of the early famous figures from the tribe was the legendary Hatim Al-Ta'i (Hatim of Tayy), a Christian Arab renowned for generosity and hospitality, and figured in the Arabian Nights. The early Islamic historical sources report that his son, Adiyy ibn Hatim, whom they sometimes refer to as the "king" of Tayy, converted to Islam before Muhammad's death. Another figure from Tayy during this period was Zayd al-Khayr, a prominent member of Tayy who is said to have led Tayy's delegation to Muhammad accepting Islam.


  • Origins 1
  • History 2
  • House of Rashid 3
  • Shammar in Iraq 4
  • Shammar in Syria 5
  • Timeline 6
  • Main sections 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9


The Shammar are a tribal confederation made up of three main branches: the Abdah, the Aslam, and the Zoba. The modern tribe of Shammar are descendants of the Tayy tribe of Yemen. The earliest non-Arab sources refer to Arabs as Taits, thought of as referring to the Tayy, as Ayas ibn Quasiba, a ruler of pre-Islamic Iraq, had contact with both the Byzantine and Persian Empires. Sections of Tayy began migrating to neighboring regions such as Iraq and Syria before the existence of Islam. Tayy participated heavily in the Muslim conquests of the early centuries of Islam, with sections or individual members of the tribe settling in many parts of the Islamic Empire, including Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Most of these, however, were later assimilated into the local populations or into other tribes.

In the Namārah Inscription (the second oldest pre-Islamic Arabic inscription, dating from 328 CE), the name "Shammar" is believed to refer to a city in Yemen, though it may refer to the city where the Himyarite King Shammar Yahri'sh lived, the present-day Rada (located about 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Dhamar, an ancient historic site). Since King Shammar Yahri'sh ruled during the last decade of the 3rd century AD, it could be referring to the city he lived in or one named after him. It could also be referring to he city of Hayel, although there is no evidence that Imru Al-Qays fought the Tayy.

Led by Usma bin Luai the Tayy invaded the mountains of Ajaa and Salma from Banu Assad and Banu Tamim in northern Arabia in their exodus from Yemen in 115 CE. These mountains are now known as Jabal Shammar. The Tayy became nomadic camel-herders and horse-breeders in northern Nejd for centuries. Because of their strength and blood relations with the Yemenite dynasties that came to rule Syria (Ghassan) and Iraq (the Lakhmids), the Tayy expanded north into Iraq all the way to the capital at the time, al-Hirah. The area of the two mountains subsequently came to be known as "Jabal Shammar" ("Shammar's Mountain") from the 14th century, the first time that the Shammar as a tribe were noted in literature. In modern times, it is believed by some genealogists that the Tayy were absorbed into the Shammar tribe.


Led by Usma bin Luai, the Tayy invaded the mountains of Ajaa and Salma from Banu Assad and Banu Tamim in northern Arabia in their exodus from Yemen in 115 CE. These mountains were renamed to "Jabal Tayy" (Tayy's Mountain), and then again in the 14th century, after the tribe changed their name, to Jabal Shammar (Shammar's Mountain). There, Tayy, later Shammar, became urbanised city-dwellers in the city of Ha'il, nomadic pastoralists, camel-herders and horse-breeders in northern Nejd, or agriculturists in the countryside outside Ha'il or in the surrounding desert oases. These divisions were based on profession, personal interest and skill, and not family or blood-line stratifications within the tribe. It is common for the same nuclear family to have members living each of the three different lifestyles.

Because of their strength and blood relations with the Yemenite dynasties that came to rule Syria (Ghassanids) and Iraq (Muntherids), the Tayy expanded north into Iraq all the way to al-Hira, the capital at the time.

Since some sections of Tayy, and most of the Ghassanids and Muntherids, were present in Mesopotamia and the Levent prior to Islam, they participated heavily in the Muslim conquests of the early centuries of Islam. Consequently, sections or individual members of the tribes settling in many parts of the Islamic Empire, including Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and outside the Arab world. Most of these, however, were later assimilated into the local populations or into other tribes.

Oral tradition mentions that the first chiefs of the Shammar tribe, Arar & Omair, were of the 'Abda family of Dhaigham, who ruled Shammar from Jabal Shammar.

In the 17th century, a large section of the Shammar left Jabal Shammar under the leadership the of Al Jarba and settled in Iraq, reaching as far as the northern city of Mosul, their current stronghold. The Shammar are currently one of Iraq's largest tribes and are divided into two geographical, as opposed to genealogical, subsections. The northern branch, known as Shammar al-Jarba, is mainly Sunni, while the southern branch, Shammar Toga, converted to Shia Islam around the 19th century[2][3][4] after settling in southern Iraq.

The Shammar that remained in Arabia had tribal territories extending from the city of Ha'il northwards to the frontiers of the Syrian Desert. The Shammar had a long traditional rivalry with the confederation of 'Anizzah, who inhabited the same area. The city of Ha'il became the heart of the Jabal Shammar region and was inhabited largely by settled members of Shammar and their clients. Two clans succeeded each other in ruling the city in the 19th century. The first clan, the Al Ali, were replaced by the Al Rashid.

During the civil war that tore apart the Second Saudi State in the late 19th century, the emirs of Ha'il, from the house of Al Rashid, intervened and gradually took control of much of the Saudi realm, finally taking the Saudi capital Riyadh in 1895 and expelling the Saudi leaders to Kuwait. The Bedouin Shammari tribesmen provided the majority of the Al Rashid's military support. Later, in the first two decades of the 20th century, Al Rashid were defeated by Ibn Saud and his Wahhabi forces during his campaign to restore his family's rule in the Arabian Peninsula, with Jabal Shammar falling to Saudi rule in 1921. Following Al Rashid's defeat, the clan of their uncles, Al Sabhan, eventually pledged allegiance to Ibn Saud in Riyadh. Ibn Saud also married a daughter of one of the Shammari chiefs, who bore him one Saudi King, Abdullah.

After the establishment of modern borders, most Bedouins gradually left their nomadic lifestyle. Today, most members of the Shammar live modern, urbanised lifestyles in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and some sections settled in Syria and Jordan. Despite this, the vast majority of Shammar continue to retain a strong tribal identity and loyalty to their tribe. Many also participate in Bedouin Cultural Festivals to learn about their ancient lifestyles, and to take part in traditional activities like folk dance and tent-weaving.

House of Rashid

The House of Rasheed (Arabic: آل رشيد Āl Rashid or Alrasheed) were a historic Shammar dynasty on the Arabian Peninsula. They were the most formidable enemies of the House of Saud in Nejd. They were centered in Ha'il, a city in northern Nejd that derived its wealth from being on the route of the Hajj.

The Al Rasheed derived their name from the grandfather of Abdullah, the first Rasheedi amir of Ha'il, who was named Rasheed. The Rasheedi emirs cooperated closely with the Ottoman Empire. However, this cooperation became problematic as the Ottomans lost popularity.

As with many Arab dynasties, the lack of a generally accepted rule of succession was a recurrent problem with Rasheedi rule. The internal dispute normally centered on whether succession should be horizontal (i.e. to a brother) or vertical (to a son). These divisions within the family led to bloody infighting. In the last years of the nineteenth century six Rasheedi leaders died violently. Nevertheless The Al Rasheed family continued to rule and fight together against Ibn Saud.

Saudi Arabia- The first twenty years of the 20th century on the Arabian Peninsula featured a long-running series of wars as the Saudis and their allies sought to unite the peninsula. While the Al Rasheed rallied the majority of other tribes to their side, the effort proved futile, and by 1921 Ha'il was captured and given to Ibn Saud's army by the British command. Some members of the Rasheed family left the country and went into voluntary exile, mostly to Iraq. By the 1990s only a handful were still outside Saudi Arabia.

Shammar in Iraq

Under the leadership of Banu Mohamad, known as Al Jarba, there was a massive exodus into Iraq. Many of the Shammar in Iraq gave up the nomadic life to settle in major cities, especially the Jazirah plain, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates from Baghdad to Mosul. Droughts triggered several migrations of Shammar into Iraq, which, according to the Ottoman census upon its annexation, had only 1.5 million inhabitants. Today, Alhuchaim tribes of Samawa have a large majority of Shammar. Clans from Abda in Ain Tamur, Hacham of Alaslam in Souq Alshiokh, Aladhadh of Alaslam in the city of Nasiriyah are a few examples of Shammar outside of the Jazirah. The Shammar took over the Jazirah after displacing Al-Ubaid tribe. According to Sheikh Abdullah Humaid Alyawar, the son of the sheikh of Shammar, in Iraq the total population of Shammar is estimated to be 1.5 million. Abdullah Alyawar also stated that the majority of Shammar in Iraq live in the South and is Shiʻi, but it does not affect the tribe's unity. Iraq is also the home of Aljarba, the Sheikh of the entire Shammar tribe. Shammar Toga, which is entirely Shiite, is based in Al-Hafriya, very close to Al-Suwayrah, in the province of Wasit. Its current head is Sheikh Faleh ibn Sayyid Hameed ibn Sayyid Safook Al-Shammari. The Shammar Al-Sayeh, a tribal confederation of tribes from Shammar, is the branch of Shammar who were independent of Aljraba's authority. Shammar is composed of groups such as Al-Zuhairy and Al-Towej in Najaf.

The Shammar became one of the most powerful Iraqi tribes, owning vast tracts of land and provided strong support of the Hashemite monarchy. Shammar power was threatened after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1958 by Abdul-Karim Qassem, and the Shammar welcomed Ba'athist rule. After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Ghazi al-Yawar, from the Al Jarbah clan, was unanimously chosen as interim president. Al-Yawar uncle is the current Sheikh of Sheikhs of Shammar.

Shammar in Syria


  • 1171–1172: Abda joins Saladin against the crusaders.
  • 1301: First mention of a tribe called Shammar in the book Masalik Alabsar by Ibn Fadhl.
  • 1442: The city of Mujmaa is built by Abdullah ibn Saif Alwibari Alshammari.
  • 1446: The first known battle between Shammar and Unizah is fought by Bin Baqar of Alaslam and Altayyar of Unizah.
  • 1517 The Ottoman Empire is established.
  • c. 1521: the name Shammar becomes prominent.
  • 1522: Shammar backs Bani Khalid against Aluyonien.
  • 1609: Shammar unites with Bani Khalid against the sheriff of Makkah.
  • 1690: Exodus into Iraq.[5]:43
  • 1696: Shammar raids Baghdad.[5] :43
  • 1744: The first Saudi Kingdom.
  • 1749–1762: Shammar raids reach northern Baghdad despite the strong ruler Sulaiman Abu Layla Pasha.
  • 1750–1760: Wahabi movement emerges.
  • 1764: Migration of individuals of Alzagareet of Abdah to Southern Iraq under the leadership of Yousef bin Nasr.
  • 1765: alaslam and zaghareet between Hīt and Karabla.[5] :44
  • 1776: Sheikh Mutlag bin Thanian invades Alhafeer area.
  • 1779: Jabal Shammar falls to Saudi domination.
  • 1781 (or 1791): Battle of Aladwa between Aljarba and Ibn Saud.
  • 1780: Shammar joins Bani Khalid and Muntafig and the Sheriff of Mecca to conquer Alsaud.
  • 1790: Wahabis raid southern Iraq early in the year.[5] :46
  • 1790: Shammar is allied with the Sherif of Mecca against Alasaud.
  • 1791: Alsaud launches a surprise attack on Shammar and wins two battles 70 miles south-east of Hayel.
  • 1791: Late in the year some Shamaris join other Bedouins in an attack against Alsaud; Muslit bin Mutlag is killed.
  • 1791: Mutlag Aljarba takes Shammar to safer places in southern Iraq.
  • 1792: Sheikh Abdul Wahab dies; Wahabi forces raid southern Iraq, defeating Bani Khalid.[5]:46
  • 1792: Mohamad Bin Abdul mohsin Bin Ali (also believed to be Alsamn Alurabi) becomes Emir of Hail.
  • 1795: Saudi forces attack Shammar near Samawa and Mutlag is killed.[6] (Some say this occurred in 1797 in the Battle of Alabyadh, and that Mutlag died and Shammar entered Aljazeera in the same year.)
  • 1797: Alsaud attacks north of Soug Alshiokh; Faris Bin Mohammad Aljarba takes over; Wahabis are turned back.[5]
  • 1798: A large coalition including Shammar, Alubaid and Ottoman armies – more than 500 strong – goes to Basra; Mutlag dies.[5]:47
  • 1799: Ali Basha leaves Zuabir with new allies from Almuntafig, Althufair and Bani Khalid; they fight for a year.[5]
  • 1800: Truce is broken and an indecisive battle with the Wahabis takes place near Karbala.[5]
  • 1800: Incident between Faris al Jarba and Shiekh Alamoud Fayez Ibn Huthayl.
  • 1801: Wahabi pressure on southern Iraq subsides; Shammar migrates to reach Jabal Sinjar in northern Iraq.[5] The Shiite holy city of Karbala is raided by 10,000 men on 6,000 camels; the plunder Hussien's tomb.
  • 1802: Late that year, a campaign against the Yezedi is launched by the Ottomans, Shammar, and Alubaid.[5]:50
  • 1803: Ottoman seeks Shammar's help in a campaign against the Al Ubaid mutiny, but the campaign fails.[5]:50
  • 1805: Faris Aljarba decisively defeats Alubaid.[5]:50
  • 1808–1812: Baghdad comes under Saudi threats.
  • 1809: Anti-Thufair rebellion; Ottoman campaign under Faris Aljarba and Sulaimna Basha Alsaghir, Althufair and Rola Triomph.
  • 1814: Shammar Aljarba raids several Iraqi cities.
  • 1815: Khazaal, Zuabair, and Shammar rebel against Said Basha Uniza, alubaid, and thufair put down the rebellion; Shiekh Banaia is killed in battle.
  • 1818: Shiekh Sfoug bin Faris Aljarba Takes over.[5]:61 Mohamad Bin Abdul mohsin Bin Ali is beheaded by Ibrahim Pasah and sent to his father Mohamad Ali Pasha in Egypt.[7] Dirayiya is under siege by 2,000 cavalry and 56,000 infantry with 12 guns.
  • 1820s: Mohamad bin Ali is killed and his brother Saleh becomes ruler of town.[8]
  • 1822 Shammar's Sfoug aljarba defeats a 40,000-strong Persian army meant for Baghdad.[5]:70
  • 1822: Alawajya wars begin.
  • 1823: Anna is bequeathed to Sfoug.
  • 1824: Uniza raids Shammar and steals their Arabian horses.
  • 1831: Shammar aids the Ottoman siege of Baghdad to remove its rebellious Dawood Pasha.[5]:73
  • 1832: Shammar retaliates against Ali Pasha and declares rebellion.[5]:77
  • 1832: The Egyptian invasion of Syria forces Uniza to leave the Syrian desert and enter Aljazera with 35,000 men.
  • 1833: Two Pashas join the rebellion and attack the Yazidis in Sinjar to stop their looting.
  • July 1833: Shammar besieges Baghdad and intercepts all Ottoman correspondence 20–30 miles north.[5]:78 Abdullah bin Rashid, the future founder of the emirate of Ha'il is said to have taken part.
  • 1833: Five thousand Ottomans under Mohamad Pasha leave a rebellion near Hilla and attack Shammar; the siege remains active.[5]:79
  • 1833: Late in the year, Shammar moves north to help Mosul's Pasha; the siege is broken and Ottomans launch a successful surprise attack.
  • 1834: Rogue Sheikh Shlash of Shammar attacks Uniza in support of the Ottomans; Sfoug supports Shlash with 2,000 men; Uniza wins.
  • 1835: Uniza crosses the Euphrates and leaves Aljazeera.
  • 1835: Shammar is at the peak of its power in Aljazeera and Sfoug Aljarba is Soultan Albar.
  • 1835: Rasheed Pasha ambushes Sfoug and his son Farhan and exiles him to the Istana.
  • 1835: Shammar retaliates by raiding and destroying the fields of Tikrit.
  • 1836: Battles ensue between Shammar and Uniza; Sfoug's brother Faris bin Mohamad rules over 12,000 families; Mohamad Ali Pasha's forces reach Yanbo for a second invasion of Arabia.
  • 1836: Alrashid establishes an emirate centered at Hail.
  • 1837: Shammar's unity fragments in Iraq.
  • 1838: Abdullah bin Rasheed goes to Iraq.
  • 1840: Shammar Jarba attacks the Egyptians at Orfa.
  • 1841: Anna is taken away from Sfoug.
  • 1842: Shammar jarba retaliates by raiding near Alkhabor; there is some internal splintering.
  • 1843: Sfoug is reappointed as Shammar's Shiekh.
  • 1844: Shammar Jarba raids Uniza near Harran; it is a famine year.
  • 1844: In summer Uniza brings 20,000 men and raids the area between Baghdad and Mosul.
  • 1844: Shammar, with only 1000 men, allies with the Kurdish cavalry to expel Uniza; Fighting continues in the fall.
  • 1845: Uniza seeks a truce, giving 15,000 sheep, 3,000 camels and 8 horses.
  • 1845: Shammar Jarba defeats Uniza and spoils 7,000 sheep; famine strikes Shammar.
  • 1845: The Emirate of Hail is declared.
  • 1846: Farhan becomes the Sheikh of Sheikhs; of the other six brothers, the runner-up is Abdulkareem.
  • 1846?: Abdulkarim declares a revolution against the Ottomans; Naser Alsadoun delivers him to the Ottomans and he is hanged.
  • 1847: Internal fighting between rebellious Shammaris; Sfoug is assassinated and beheaded by Najeeb Pasha (some say 1857).
  • December 1847: Shammar raids Aljazeera; Najeeb Pasha appoints Oda as Sheikh.
  • 1848: In spring Uniza raids Shammar under Daham Ibn Gaishish and Ibn Hath-thal.
  • 1850–1851: Abdi Pasha stops his Shammar rations: Shammar raids southern Baghdad.[5]:108
  • 1852: Shammar defeat Unizah and Alqusaim in the Battle of Baqa.
  • 1853-1856: Ottoman control outside of big cities plummets.
  • 1855: Ibn Sulaim raids Hail and kills wild Alaslamya in Ramdhan.
  • 1856: Ibn Rashid kills Ibn Sulaim in Ramdhan as vengeance.
  • 1859: The feast for a wolf by Mukazi Ibn Sayed.
  • 1871: Ubaid bin Rasheed dies of old age (according to oral tradition).
  • 1876: Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Rasheed capitalizes on internal disputes between Abdullah and Saud bin Faisal and enters Alqaseem.
  • 1887: Mohammed Bin Rasheed is asked in a poem by Mohammed bin Jasem of Qatar to help against a coalition of other emirates. The coalition is defeated and Barzan Tower is built in Qatar to commemorate the occasion.
  • 1882: Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Rasheed and Hassan bin Muhana defend the town of Almujama against Abdulla bin Faisal.
  • 1883: Arwa Battle between Utaiba and Shammar, Utaiba is defeated. Utaiba's leaders were Hendi bin Humaid, Terky bin Rubaian and Ghazi bin Mohaya.
  • 1895: Almulaida battles against Alquseem.
  • 1897: Battle of Binban; all of Najd is under Mohammed bin Rasheed.
  • March 1901: Battle of Alsarif: 1200 Shammaris lost 400 under Abdul Aziz Almutab Alrashid defeat an invasion of Hayel against the Emir of Kuwait over 64000 men and lost 9000.
  • 1907: Aljanazah is assassinated and Hail is ruled by the sons of Sheikh Humoud bin Ubaid Alrasheed.
  • 1910: Ajumaima against Saud Abdulaziz bin Rasheed Shammar defeats Alruoula and Unizah. Hail is ruled by Aljanazah under the guardianship of Alsabhan.
  • 1910: Aljumaima Shammar against Unizah and Alerwilah.
  • March 1910: Battle of Hadya: 500 Shammari horsemen join Alsadoun on 4000 in a battle again Sabah backed by Abdulaziz Alsaud and defeat them.
  • 1914: Zamel Alsabhan is killed.
  • 1915: Aljurab Battle: Ibn Rasheed is victorious against Ibn Saud; death of a British intelligence officer called Shakespeare.
  • 1916: Battle of Abu Ajaj: Shammar defeats Alshfair and Albudoor.
  • 1920: Zuba participates in Iraq's 1920 revolution against the British.
  • 1921: 1299+622 Mohamad Ibn adullah bin Rashid ends the siege of Aridh and Abdullah ibn Faisal retreats.
  • 1932: population of Hail is estimated at 20,000; Badu Shammar at 150,000–200,000 of which 30% are Alaslam, 37% Abde, 25% Sinjara, 7.5% Tuman.
  • 1948: Shammar is driven out of the Negev south of Palestine by Israeli forces;
  • February 16, 1948: Battle of Zaraa.
  • April 10, 1948: Almanara.
  • July 22, 1997: Faisal Mohammad

Main sections


(Al Twalah: is the Sheikhs and ruler of AL ASLAM Clans and they are the Leaders of Jabal Shammar in Ha'il.)


    • Al Manee' -Twalah, Fayid, Masud and Kamel (subclans)
    • Wahab - Qder, Muhammed, Jathel
    • Al Sultah - Al Jarba the Sheikhs of Shammar come from this clan
    • Aladhadh
    • Al Khashman

  • ABDA


    • Al Jaafar -ruler of Najed comes from this clan.
    • Al Rubaeya - sub clan of rubeya Al Webbar, Al Ata, Zagareet, Al Jadi, Al Mohissen
    • Al Yihya - one of its famous Families are: Albu Salih, Al Shammelah, Al Mufadal and Al Jundah

  • ZOBA'


    • Zoba' Al Mathlothah.
    • Al Khrusah, Some Leaders of shammar "Aljarba family" come from this clan.
    • Sinjarah:
  • Al Thabit
  • Al Ghafilah
  • Al Zameel, sometimes referred to as Al Souid or Al Faddaghah, the leaders of Al Faddaghah are "Al Wetaid Family".
  • Al Zomail
  • Bachir Gemayel Christian tribe


  1. ^ مدح لقبيلة شمر في ذكرى أستقلال الأردن
  2. ^ The Shi'is of Iraq.Yitzhak Nakash, p.27
  3. ^ Haydari, ‘Unwan al-Majd, pg. 110-15, 118
  4. ^ ‘Abdallah Mahmud Shukri (al-Alusi), “Di’ayat al-Rafd wa al-Khurafat wa al-Tafriq Bayn al-Muslimin”, al-Manar 29 (1928): 440
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Williamson, John Frederich (1974). The History of Shmmar (Arabic). 
  6. ^ Al Rasheed, p. 35.
  7. ^ Hail online Arabic reference.
  8. ^ Al Rasheed.


  • Aladhadh, Amer; A comprehensive history of Shammar
  • Alazzawi, Abbas; The Tribes of Iraq (Arabic)
  • AlfudailyThe Days of the Arabs before Islam (Arabic )
  • Hassan, Hussein D.; Tribal Structure, Social, and Political Activities Information Research Specialist Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Consultancy Knowledge Services Group (re Iraq)
  • Madawi Al Rasheed: Politics in an Arabian oasis. The Rashidi Tribal Dynasty. I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, London & New York 1991 (based on a Ph.D. thesis presented to Cambridge University, 1988). ISBN 1-85043-320-8 (English)
  • Web site for Shammar (Tayy) tribe.
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