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The Iran crisis

Satellite images of damage at U.S. base in Iraq may support theory Iran wasn't targeting people

Satellite photos taken Wednesday show the damage Iran's missile strike inflicted on the Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq, NPR reports.

NPR obtained the photos, which were taken by commercial company Planet, from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. One thing that stands out is how precise the strike appear to have been, indicating Tehran was able to target individual structures on the base, which hosts U.S. and coalition troops. The images reveal at least five structures, including aircraft hangars and other buildings, were damaged in the attack.

"Some of the locations struck look like the missiles hit dead center," David Schmerler, an analyst with the Middlebury Institute, told NPR.

The images may also lend some credence to the speculation that Tehran purposefully avoided killing people at the base, since the missiles do not appear to have hit any structures that would have been holding people. "The buildings we're tallying now seem to be used for storing aircraft," Schmerler said. "There are other structures at the airbase that would be exclusively for people so maybe they intended to strike sites with equipment over people." Read more at NPR.