Published: Fri, January 24, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

U.S. troops injured in recent Iranian strike: Pentagon

U.S. troops injured in recent Iranian strike: Pentagon

Thirty-four US service members were diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries following Iranian airstrikes on the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq earlier this month, the Pentagon's chief spokesman said Friday.

President Donald Trump had initially said no troops were injured in the January 8 strike on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq in a retaliation attack for the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Many were in bunkers before almost a dozen Iranian ballistic missiles exploded, damaging several parts of the base.

Hoffman's disclosure that 34 had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, or TBI, was the first update on the number injured in Iran's missile attack on Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq since the Pentagon said on January 17 that 11 service members had been flown out of Iraq with concussion-like symptoms.

Seventeen other troops who were treated in the region have returned to duty in Iraq. Another is back in Iraq after being sent to Kuwait for evaluation, and 16 are back on duty in Iraq following their diagnosis.

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US President Donald Trump said on the morning after the missile attack that no US troops were harmed. Hoffman said the service members were transported earlier Friday and would receive treatment at either Walter Reed military hospital or their home bases. "Over the last two weeks, we have seen a persistent and dedicated effort by our medical professionals in Iraq, Kuwait and Germany to diagnose any and all members who need assistance". Hoffman said Friday that deploying one or more Patriot anti-missile systems to Iraq is among options now being weighted by military commanders. Another missile landed outside Irbil, but without the same destruction.

Last week the United States military said 11 United States troops had been treated for concussion symptoms after the attack on the Ain al-Assad airbase in western Iraq and this week said additional troops had been moved out of Iraq for potential injuries.

Eight of those injured were returned to the United States early Friday.

Two weeks ago, in retaliation for the US airstrike that killed Gen. Qassim Soleimani, Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing USA forces. He said "we can track that if you're really interested in it", though requests for the information already had been made for several days.

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