Attack on Ayun Kara map

After capturing Gaza in early November 1917, the British continued their pursuit of the retreating Ottomans north into Palestine. They sought to split the enemy’s forces by disrupting road and railway links between Jaffa and Jerusalem. As part of these plans, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade was ordered to take the village of Ayun Kara. 

On 14 November the New Zealanders encountered an Ottoman force entrenched on a ridge south of Ayun Kara. Although heavily outnumbered, they advanced north along the ridge and attacked the enemy position. The fighting was fierce and the Ottomans mounted several strong counter-attacks throughout the day. The New Zealanders eventually seized the ridge and forced the Ottomans to retreat, but not before suffering some of their highest casualties of the campaign. Of the 800 or so men who took part, at least 40 were killed and around 140 were wounded.   

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