As US forces moved closer to Baghdad, a crucial deception plan paid off when a large number of Iraqi troops were moved north of Baghdad on 2 April to protect it from a supposed US attack from Turkey. The Iraqi troops were moved from the strategically important Karbala gap between the Euphrates and Lake Razazah which allowed US forces to push towards Baghdad after capturing a bridge over the Euphrates. British forces were left to secure besieged Basra, where it was hoped that previous British experience in Northern Ireland would aid their handling of the situation. An Najaf was secured by 4 April and a determined Iraqi counterattack was launched against Baghdad Airport, which had been secured by the Americans the day before. Baghdad was secured on 12 April and the airport became an important staging post for US air attacks across Iraq.
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