US troops knew Iran strike was coming hours ahead

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AIN AL-ASAD BASE, Iraq (AP)- U.S. officials say that their troops were informed of an imminent attack hours before a barrage of Iranian ballistic missiles struck a key Iraqi airbase hosting American forces.

U.S. Soldiers walk past damage at a site of Iranian bombing at Ain al-Asad air base, in Anbar, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Ain al-Asad air base was struck by a barrage of Iranian missiles on Wednesday, in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed atop Iranian commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose killing raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Qassim Abdul-Zahra)

One U.S. army officer described on Monday giving the order for American troops at Ain al-Asad air base, in western Iraq, to go on lockdown and later into bunkers before Iranian missiles started slamming into the area.

The attack was in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike near Baghdad airport that killed a top Iranian commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, prompting angry calls to avenge his slaying.

An Associated Press crew touring the Ain al-Asad base Monday saw large craters in the ground and damaged military trailers and housing units.