Sunday , 29 March 2020

U.S. Raises Injury Toll In Iran Attack For Fourth Time, Now Says 64 Hurt

rferl.org – The U.S. military has once again raised the number of U.S. service members who suffered traumatic brain injuries in Iran’s missile strike on an Iraqi base earlier this month.

Pentagon spokesman Thomas Campbell said that as of January 30, “a total of 64 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, or TBI.”

In remarks that have angered many U.S. veterans groups, President Donald Trump initially claimed that no Americans were harmed in Iran’s January 8 attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq.

The military later said that 11 troops had suffered injuries, then raised it to 34 before saying on January 28 that 50 personnel had been injured.

Trump has downplayed the injuries, saying he “heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things.”

Iran said the missile attack on the bases hosting U.S. troops was revenge for the killing of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in a U.S. air strike near Baghdad’s airport in early January.

The Pentagon spokesman said that of the 64 injured U.S personnel, 39 have returned to duty.

“Since the ballistic-missile attack, we have seen a persistent and dedicated effort by our medical professionals on the ground in Iraq, Kuwait, and Germany to diagnose and treat any and all members who needed assistance,” he added.

“This is a snapshot in time and numbers can change. We will continue to provide updates as they become available,” the spokesman said.

William Schmitz, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, has said the group “expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks” in downplaying the seriousness of the injuries.

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