At least 50 US service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries resulting from Iran’s missile attack on an Iraqi air base earlier this month, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
The number is an increase of 16 from Friday, when the Pentagon said that 34 troops had been hurt.
A little over a week after the Jan. 8 attack, the military said 11 service members were injured with “concussion symptoms from the blast.”
Of the 50 injured, 31 have returned to duty, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell said on Tuesday.
Eighteen of them were taken to Germany for further evaluation and treatment.
The missile attack on the Al Asad Air Base was carried out by Iran in retaliation for the US drone strike that killed its top Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3.
President Trump initially said no US service members were injured or killed — a discrepancy the military attributed to symptoms not being immediately reported or, in some cases, only becoming known days later.
When the Pentagon reported Jan. 17 that the 11 injured troops had been evacuated out of Iraq, Trump said, “I heard they had headaches and a couple of other things … and I can report it is not very serious.”
He said he didn’t consider their ailments to be as severe as those suffered by troops who were hit by roadside bombs in Iraq and lost limbs.
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, has become a larger concern for the military in recent years. It can impair thinking, memory, vision, hearing and other functions.
Severe cases can result in coma, amnesia or death.
With Post wires
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