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US Says 34 Troops Suffered Brain Injuries In Iran Missile Strike

Damage at the Ain al-Asad Air Base after an Iranian missile strike.

The United States says 34 of its soldiers have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following this month’s Iranian missile attack on a military base in Iraq.

Half of the troops have returned to their duties in Iraq, while the other 17 are still under medical observation, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters on January 24.

President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials initially said no American had been injured or killed in the Iranian attack on the Ain al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq. But the U.S. military last week said 11 U.S. troops had been treated for concussion symptoms after the attack.

Asked about the apparent discrepancy this week, Trump said: "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."

On January 8, Iran carried out a ballistic missile attack on Ain al-Asad and another air base hosting U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for a January 3 U.S. drone missile strike that killed a top Iranian military commander, Major General Qasem Soleimani.

There were some 1,500 U.S. soldiers at the Ain al-Asad base at the time of the attack. Most had been huddling in bunkers after being alerted about the incoming missiles.

Hoffman said that eight service members who had been previously transported to Germany to receive treatment arrived back in the United States on January 24.

The nine other soldiers who were flown to Germany "are still undergoing evaluation and treatment there," he added.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP