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Friday Jan 24 2020

Pentagon confirms 34 soldiers diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after Iran strike

Pentagon confirms 34 soldiers diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after Iran strike. — Photo: middleeastmonitor 

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said Friday that 34 of its army men had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury following strikes by Iran on a base in Iraq earlier this month.

US President Donald Trump and other top officials initially said Iran's attack had not killed or injured any US service members.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters that eight service members who had been previously transported to Germany had been moved to the US. Hoffman said the service members were transported earlier Friday and would receive treatment at either Walter Reed military hospital or their home bases.

Last week the US military said 11 troops had been treated for concussion symptoms after the attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq and this week said additional troops had been moved out of Iraq for potential injuries.

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Nine service members remain in Germany and are undergoing evaluations and treatment.

On Wednesday, Trump appeared to play down the injuries, saying he "heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things."

Pentagon officials have said there had been no effort to minimize or delay information on concussive injuries, but its handling of the injuries following Tehran's attack has renewed questions over the US military's policy regarding how it deals with suspected brain injuries.

Iran fired missiles at Iraqi bases used by the US military on January 8. The attack was the Islamic republic's first act of promised revenge for the killing of its top general Qasem Soleimani, one of the most important figures in the country's government, in a US drone strike earlier that week.

The Pentagon said "Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US military and coalition forces in Iraq."