The Mongols were a tribe of nomads from Central/North Asia. Genghis Khan, their leader, deliberately used terror as a weapon of war. If a city gave up without a fight, its people would usually be spared but would have to go under Mongol control. If the city fought against the Mongols, everyone would be massacred. For example, when he besieged the city of Herat, in present-day Afghanistan, he killed over 1,600,000 people. In 1255, the Mongols turned their attention to the Middle East. The Muslim world at this time was fragmented and in no position to resist the Mongol attacks. After destroying Baghdad and leaving the city lifeless, the Mongols continued on westward. They conquered Syria and continued toward Palestine. Fortunately, they were stopped at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260. This prevented a Mongol invasion of the Holy Lands of Mecca, Madina, and Jerusalem. This also ensured the safety of the only remaining powerful Muslim empire of the time, the Mamluks in Egypt, present day Israel and along the northeast coast of the Red Sea.