Satellite images by "Planet Labs" shared by Middlebury Institute, California, showing the damage caused by Iranian missiles when it hit US' Ain al-Asad base in Iraq.
Irans Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have claimed that none of precision-guided Fateh-110 and Qiam-1 ballistic missiles fired at United States military bases in Iraq had been intercepted.
The missiles struck Iraqs Ain al-Asad and Erbil airbases on January 8, five days after IRGC head Qasem Soleimani was assassinated by the US. The timing of the assault, 1.30am, was explicitly ordered by Tehran at the same hour Soleimani was killed.
Majority of these projectiles fired are Fateh-110s, described by Iran as an “agile, stealth-capable, tactical and precision-guided missiles that can travel 300km (180 miles) carrying payload of around 225kg.” The Qiam-1 on the other hand, is a long-range, liquid fuel ballistic missile having a range of 800km and a capacity to carry 340kg warhead.
“The time has come for the evil rulers of the United States to withdraw their terrorist army forces as quickly as possible from the region,” PressTV reported, citing IRGC.
According to Dave Schmerler, an analyst at Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), the Iranian missiles hit its targets in Iraq with “precision.”
From the satellite images released by Planet Labs and shared by MIIS, it appears that Iran deliberately missed buildings housing US personnel to hit “at least five individual structures” with stored military equipment at the targeted airbase. Just outside the buildings that were struck, Reaper drones, one of which was used in the Soleimani assassination, can be seen along with Apache attack helicopters and U-2 ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft.
"Some of the locations struck look like the missiles hit dead center," Schmerler was quoted as saying by NPR on Wednesday.
“The buildings we're tallying now seem to be used for storing aircraft. There are other structures at the airbase that would be exclusively for people so maybe they intended to strike sites with equipment over people,” he added.
“If they wanted a bunch of causalities they could have done something different,” says Tom Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic & International Studies.