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Aftermath of attack on Ain al-Assad
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Q. Abdul-Zahra

Pentagon: US troops had brain damage in Iran's strike

January 24, 2020

Some 34 American troops suffered serious head injuries during the Iranian missile strike on a US military base in early January. The statement belies initial claims made by US President Trump that no Americans were hurt.


The Pentagon on Friday said 34 US troops suffered traumatic brain injuries during Iran's missile strike on an air base in Iraq earlier this month. President Donald Trump had initially claimed that no Americans were harmed.

Trump later revised his statement to say the injuries were "not very serious."

Last week the US military said 11 military personnel had been treated for concussion symptoms after the attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq, before adding this week that additional troops had been moved out of the country with potential injuries. Eight of the injured arrived in the US on Friday from US installations in Germany.

The exact nature of the injuries or the service and unit affiliations of the casualties were not disclosed, though it was understood that half of the original 34 injured have returned to work.

Seventeen remain under medical observation or receiving treatment. 

Retaliation strike

Iran carried out the rocket attack on January 3 in retaliation for a US drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iran's most powerful general, Qassem Soleimani.

Many US personnel were in bunkers before nearly a dozen Iranian missiles exploded. Tensions have since eased between the US and Iran after Trump said he chose not to retaliate.

The question of American casualties was considered important, as it was seen as influencing a US decision on whether to launch a counterattack.

bk/stb (AP, Reuters)

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