Al Kut (äl kōt) [key], town, SE Iraq, on the Tigris River. It is a port and a market center for grains, dates, fruit, and vegetables. There is a large barrage on the Tigris there diverting much of its water to regional irrigation canals (Shatt el Gharraf). Much of the town was destroyed during World War I; in 1915 the Turks halted the British advance toward Baghdad there, beseiging them for 143 days. The British retook Al Kut in Feb., 1917, as they resumed their advance. It is also called Kut-al-Amara or Kut-el-Amara.