Thirty-four US troops were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries resulting from Iran’s missile attack on an Iraqi air base earlier this month — 17 of whom are still under medical observation, the Pentagon reported Friday.
The other half have since returned to their military duties, chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.
Hoffman’s new information is the second update on the number of injuries in the Jan. 8 Iranian attack on Al Asad Air base.
The initial figure came on Jan. 17, when the Pentagon announced that 11 members had been flown out of the country with “concussion symptoms from the blast.”
Of the 34, 18 people were evacuated from Iraq to US medical facilities in Germany and Kuwait, and 16 remained in Iraq, according to Hoffman.
Seventeen of the 18 evacuees were sent to Germany and nine remain there, according to Hoffman. The other eight were transported to the US for continued observation or treatment, he said.
The one American sent to Kuwait has returned to duty, and all 16 who remained in Iraq have done the same, according to Hoffman.
The Iranian strikes were launched in retaliation for a US missile attack that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani the week before.
President Donald Trump initially said no US service members were injured or killed — a discrepancy that the military says happened when some symptoms were not immediately reported or became known days later.
Only on Wednesday — two days before Hoffman released the updated numbers — Trump told reporters at a press conference in Davos, Switzerland that the troops’ injuries were not serious.
“I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things … and I can report it is not very serious,” the commander-in-chief said.
“No, I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” the president added. “I’ve seen people with no legs and with no arms. I’ve seen people that were horribly, horribly injured in that area, that war.”
With Post wires
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