Pentagon says recent Iranian strike on US base in Iraq injures 34 troops

U.S. Soldiers stand while bulldozers clear rubble and debris at Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP)

Nearly three dozen US troops suffered traumatic brain injuries or concussion in the recent Iranian airstrike on a military base in Iraq housing American personnel, the Pentagon said Friday.

“Thirty-four total members have been diagnosed with concussions and TBI (traumatic brain injury),” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

US President Donald Trump had initially said that no Americans were injured in the strike on the Ain al-Asad base in western Iraq earlier this month although authorities later reported that 11 troops were injured.

Hoffman said that 17 of the victims had been initially transferred to Germany to receive treatment, eight of whom arrived back in the US on Friday.

“They will continue to receive treatment in the United States, either at Walter Reed (a military hospital near Washington) or at their home bases,” he told a press conference at the Pentagon.

The nine other victims who were flown to Germany “are still undergoing evaluation and treatment there,” he added.

Seventeen other troops who were treated in the region have returned to duty in Iraq.

The airbase was targeted in retaliation for the US killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3.

The base is one of the largest in Iraq, with 1,500 US troops making up the bulk of a coalition presence directly adjacent to thousands of Iraqi forces.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05
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