Algeria comprises 2,381,741 square kilometers, more than four-fifths of which is desert. Its Arabic name, Al Jazair (the islands), is believed to derive from the rocky islands along the Mediterranean coastline. The northern portion, an area of mountains, valleys, and plateaus between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert, forms an integral part of the section of North Africa known as the Maghrib. This area includes Morocco, Tunisia, and the northwestern portion of Libya known historically as Tripolitania.
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