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Khalifa Abu Bakr - Campaigns in Eastern Iraq

Conquest of Hirah

Amgheeshiya. When Khalid bin Walid was asked to undertake operations in Iraq, he was given by Abu Bakr, the target of Hirah. After the battle of Ulleis, the road to Hirah lay open. Khalid and his army immediately took the road to Hirah. After a day's march from Ulleis, the Muslim army reached Amgheeshiya. It was a large city rivaling Hirah in importance and splendor. The city was deserted, and there was no one to oppose the Muslims. The flower of the manhood of Amgheeshiya had fallen at Ulleis, and the population of the city had found safety in flight. The Muslims occupied the deserted city. The wealth of Amgheeshiya in spite of the fact that residents had taken away their precious belongings with them, dazzled the Muslims. The booty amassed from the deserted city exceeded the spoils of war that the Muslims had won at the battles of Kazima, Mazar, Walaja, and Ulleis put together. When the state share of the booty from Amgheeshiya reached Madina, Abu Bakr addressing the faithful assembled in the Prophet's mosque said, "O Muslims, rejoice that your lion has empowered the Persian lion. Verily, women can no longer bear sons like Khalid."

Advance to Hirah. After the occupation of Amgheeshiya, Khalid decided to advance to Hirah. Hirah was under the nominal rule of an Arab chief Layth bin Qubeisa. The actual administration of the city was, however, the responsibility of the Persian Governor Azarbeh. When Azarbeh came to know of the advance of the Muslim force, he organized the defenses of the city. He sent forward a cavalry group commanded by his son to hold the advance of the Muslims. This cavalry group was commissioned to dam the Euphrates in order to hold the advance of the Muslim army.

In the advance to Hirah, while the main Muslim army marched by riding on camels and horses, the heavy military loads were carried by boats on the river. The Muslim forces had traversed a short distance only, when due to the damming of the river, the water level fell, and the boats carrying the military loads came to be grounded. Seeing this situation, Khalid dashed off at great speed on the road to Hirah at the head of a cavalry detachment. At Badqala, some twelve miles from Hirah, the son of Azarbeh and his column were surprised, and cut down to a man. Khalid thereafter opened the dam, and as the water level in the river rose, the Muslim army resumed their advance by land as well as the river.

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