Pentagon again ups number of US troops injured in Iran missile strike in Iraq to 50
Washington, Jan 29: Fifty American soldiers suffered traumatic brain injuries during the retaliatory Iranian missile strike on the US forces in Iraq, according to the Pentagon, revising the figure for a third time since the attack on January 8.
Iran attacked Iraqi bases housing US soldiers in retaliation for an American drone attack that killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 2, raising regional tensions.
The Pentagon and President Donald Trump had initially said no service members were injured or killed in the Iranian missile attack.
But last week, the Pentagon said 34 troops were injured in the attack. Earlier, the US Central Command said that 11 service members were treated for concussion symptoms from the attack.
On Tuesday, it upped the figure of injured soldiers by 16 to 50 service personnel.
“As of today, 50 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI),” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell said in the statement.
“Of these 50, 31 total service members were treated in Iraq and returned to duty, including 15 of the additional service members who have been diagnosed since the previous report. Eighteen service members have been transported to Germany for further evaluation and treatment.
“This is an increase of one service member from the previous report. As previously reported, one service member had been transported to Kuwait and has since returned to duty,” the statement added.
Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow to the head or body. It can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later, according to experts.
Last week President Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered by American soldiers in Iraq.
During the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Trump was asked to explain the discrepancy between his previous comments that no US service member was harmed in the Iranian missile attack on Al-Asad airbase in Iraq, and the latest reports of US troops being treated for injuries sustained in that attack.
“No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious,” Trump replied during a news conference on the sidelines of the WEF.
Meanwhile, an influential veterans group has asked President Trump to apologise for his “misguided” comments, CNN reported.
“The VFW expects an apology from the President to our service men and women for his misguided remarks,” William “Doc” Schmitz, Veterans of Foreign Wars national commander, said in a statement.