December 30, This Day during the World War l

December 30, 1917 – The Battle of Jerusalem named the “Jerusalem Operations” by the British) developed from 17 November with fighting continuing until 30 December 1917 during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I. Before the capture of Jerusalem was secured, two battles were recognised by the British as being fought in the Judean Hills to the north and east of the Hebron–Junction Station line. These were the Battle of Nebi Samwill from 17 to 24 November and the Defence of Jerusalem from 26 to 30 December 1917. They also recognised within the Jerusalem Operations, the Battle of Jaffa from 21 to 22 December 1917 fought between the Tul Keram–Junction Station–Jaffa railway and the sea, as a subsidiary battle. This series of battles was successfully fought by the British Empire’s XX Corps, XXI Corps, and the Desert Mounted Corps against strong opposition from the Ottoman Seventh Army in the Judean Hills and the Eighth Army north of Jaffa on the Mediterranean coast. The loss of Jaffa and Jerusalem, together with the loss of 50 miles (80 km) of territory during the Egyptian Expeditionary Force’s advance from Gaza, constituted a grave setback for the Ottoman Army and the Ottoman Empire. As a result of these victories, British Empire forces captured Jerusalem and established a new strategically strong fortified line. This line ran from well to the north of Jaffa on the maritime plain, across the Judean Hills to Bireh north of Jerusalem, and continued eastwards of the Mount of Olives. With the capture of the road from Beersheba to Jerusalem via Hebron and Bethlehem, together with substantial Ottoman territory south of Jerusalem, the city was secured. On 11 December, General Edmund Allenby respectfully entered the Old City on foot through the Jaffa Gate instead of horse or vehicles to show respect for holy place. He was the first Christian in many centuries to control Jerusalem, which is a very important site for many faiths. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Lloyd George described the capture as “a Christmas present for the British people.” Allenby remarked, “The wars of the crusaders are now complete”. The battle was a great moral victory for the British Empire. 

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