US troops in Iraq knew of Iranian attack 2.5 hours ahead of time – report
In what marked the first time media were given access to the base since the attack, the cable station on Saturday reviewed impact sites and spoke with troops who were on the ground in the Al-Asad air base during the attack.
Iran fired over a dozen missiles as two bases in Iraq — Al-Asad and another base in the northern city of Irbil — housing US troops last Wednesday, in revenge for a US drone strike that killed senior Iranian commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani a few days earlier.
An Arab diplomatic source told CNN that the Iraqis had warned the US in advance of which bases would be hit after receiving the information from the Iranians. Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said the Iranians gave an official verbal message warning Iraq shortly before the attack started.
Many troops at Al-Asad were evacuated from the base some two and a half hours before the missile attack started, and those who remained hunkered down in shelters, CNN reported.
Beginning at just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday there were four volleys of rockets that hit Al-Asad, some coming down directly on living quarters that had been evacuated due to the warnings.
CNN said little was left of the living quarters hit due to the blast damage and a fire that raged for hours afterwards. Footage from the site showed shattered buildings and large craters in the ground.
Although most troops were moved out of harm’s way, the information the US received indicated that there might be a ground assault on the base too. As a result, some soldiers remained deployed outside in the open, maintaining the perimeter as the explosions rocked the base.
Source: Times of Israel
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