British Harriers tasked with cutting the supply chain to Iraq's Republican Guard have demolished a large fuel storage depot near Karbala used to service tanks, their commander said.
The plan is to cut the mobility of the elite troops defending Baghdad and even leave them without gas to get stuck in the desert.
"I fired one maverick missile into the heart of a fuel dump west-north-west of Karbala used by the Republican Guard," said Wing Commander Andy Suddards, who is in charge of the mission.
"The visibility was good and I saw the bang. The formation followed through and dropped four laser-guided bombs and some free-fall bombs to take out the rest of the storage area and complete the job," he said stepping from his Harrier at this secret desert location in the early hours.
"Air is having its effect, there is no strategic pause.
"While the army is not moving forward it is the turn of the air to shape the battle space to make it as easy as possible for when the army start going forward again and meet as little resistance as possible.
"If the tanks have no fuel it is all going to help," Suddards said.
Allied air attacks are focusing on "degrading" the Republican Guard and US military officials said Saturday at least 55 Iraqi soldiers died and more than 25 vehicles were destroyed when Apache helicopters struck 40 targets of the elite force's armoured Medina Division late Friday.
British Royal Air Force pilots said that laser-guided bombs and Maverick missiles destroyed some of the Medina Divisions's biggest guns.
The Medina, regarded as one of the best equipped and best manned of the Guard's six divisions, has been guarding Karbala, 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of Baghdad.