February 21

This Day in History

World War I

Feb 21, 1918:

Allied troops capture Jericho

On the morning of February 21, 1918, combined Allied forces of British troops and the Australian mounted cavalry capture the city of Jericho in Palestine after a three-day battle with Turkish troops.

Commanded by British General Edmund Allenby, the Allied troops began the offensive on Tuesday, February 19, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Despite battling adverse weather conditions and a determined enemy in the Turks, the Allies were able to move nearly 20 miles toward Jericho in just three days.

On the morning of February 21, it was apparent that the Turkish line had been broken, and the Allied forces entered the holy city of Jericho without much resistance at just after 8 a.m. Upon realizing they had lost control of the city, Turkish troops chose to retreat rather than fight. During the three-day battle, Allied troops captured 46 Turkish prisoners.

The capture of Jericho proved to be an important strategic victory for the Allies, who now controlled some of the most important roads in the region, including the main road to the coast and the mountain highway leading to Jerusalem, and had reached the northern end of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth at 1,290 feet below sea level.

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