US knew Iranian missiles were coming ahead of strike on Iraq bases housing American troops

U.S. officials had advance warning of Iran’s missile assault that damaged two Iraqi bases housing U.S. and coalition forces, a U.S. official told USA TODAY.

Iran fired more than a dozen missiles Tuesday in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike days earlier that killed one of Tehran’s most powerful military leaders, Qasem Soleimani. Iranian state TV aired video of what its commentators said were the missiles being launched.

The missiles targeted Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s western Anbar province and another base in Irbil in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. The extent of damage to the bases was not immediately clear, but no deaths or injuries were reported.

A hangar at Ain Assad base, a sprawling complex 100 miles west of Baghdad that houses about 1,500 coalition forces, was severely damaged, according to a U.S. official speaking to USA TODAY on the condition of anonymity. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, added that troops there did have advance warning of incoming missiles and were able to scramble for cover.

“The early warning system worked,” the official said.

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