In 1516 Lebanon was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the League of Nations mandated the five provinces that comprise present-day Lebanon to France. The country gained independence in 1943, but its history since independence has been marked by periods of political turmoil. From 1975 until 1991 Lebanon suffered a bloody civil war in which regional powers - particularly Israel, Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization - used the country as a battlefield for their own conflicts. Syrian troops moved in shortly after the war started. Israeli troops invaded in 1978 and again in 1982, and withdrew in May 2000. The assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others in February 2005 led to massive demonstrations in Beirut against the Syrian presence and Syria withdrew the remainder of its military forces in April 2005. In July 2006 two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by the Hizballah guerillas, leading to a 34-day conflict between Israel and Lebanon in which approximately 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed. The battle caused enormous damages to homes, businesses, and infrastructure. Unlike many of its Middle Eastern neighbors, Lebanon does not have petroleum reserves and has few natural resources. However, with its high literacy rate and traditional mercantile culture, Lebanon has been an important commercial hub for the region.