U.S. commanders at the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq do not think that last week's attacks by Iran were only meant to scare people.
"These were designed and organized to inflict as many casualties as possible," Lt. Col Tim Garland, Commander of Task Force Jazeera, told The Washington Post. Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles, targeting al-Asad and a second base in northern Iraq. The bases house U.S. troops, and were already on high alert after Iran promised to exact revenge for President Trump authorizing an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The base was told late Tuesday that it should expect an attack from Iran, and went into lockdown. Troops moved into underground bunkers and shelters, while some remained outside to man the perimeter, due to fears there could be also be a ground assault. The strikes came in waves, the Post reports, with up to 15 minutes between each one, and troops felt the shock waves in the air. Two soldiers in a tower were thrown through a window, commanders said, and ultimately several dozen troops were treated for concussion.
The barrage lasted more than 90 minutes, and when day broke, officials were able to fully assess the damage. Prefabricated buildings were mangled and living quarters and a helicopter launch site were damaged. There were no deaths, and Lt. Col. Staci Coleman told the Post it was "miraculous" that no one was seriously injured. Read more at The Washington Post.