Troops stationed at an Iraqi air base knew beforehand that the facility will be attacked by Iran, which helped them to safely take shelter, unnamed sources were cited by CNN as saying on Sunday.
Sources asserted that most US forces were either withdrawn from the base or sheltered in bunkers for two-and-a-half-hours before Iran launched missiles on Wednesday.
At the same time, the sources claimed that although the US troops were in the know about the attack, they didn't know what the nature of the attack would be.
The fact that there were no casualties in a missile strike was described as a "miracle" by the sources which claimed that the projectiles were landing just a few metres from the bunkers.
Iran Missile Attack on US Base in Iraq
The remarks come after approximately 35 missiles were launched and struck US targets in Erbil, Iraq and the country's Ayn al-Asad Air Base, which houses US military forces, in a Tehran retaliation against the assassination of a top Iranian general.
Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)’s eiite Quds Force, was killed on 3 January, when a US drone strike hit his car at the Baghdad International Airport.
New video shows the moment Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/sM7aOtpn0a— The First (@TheFirstonTV) January 3, 2020
The attack was authorised by Trump who described it as a preemptive and defensive strike, while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed that Tehran would take revenge for what it views as a terrorist action.
The drone strike further exacerbated the already tense relations between Tehran and Washington which began to escalate after Trump’s move to withdraw the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and subsequent re-imposition of harsh economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.