Additional U.S. service member diagnosed with brain injury from Iran attack

February 22, 2020 - 15:0

One more U.S. service member has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury following Iran’s January missile strike in Iraq, the Pentagon announced Friday.

The new diagnosis brings the total number of U.S. service members who suffered brain injuries in the attack to 110, the Hill quoted the Pentagon as reporting.

“From (Ein) al Assad to Germany and the United States, the military’s medical professionals continue to work diligently to ensure the appropriate level of care for our service members, which has enabled 70 percent of those diagnosed to return to duty,” the Pentagon said in a news release Friday, referring the military base in Iraq.

“The department is committed to delivering programs and services intended to lead to the best possible outcomes for our service members,” the statement added.

In early January, Iran struck a military base in western Iraq housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

U.S. officials initially said the attack caused no injuries, but later revealed that dozens were suffering traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Officials have attributed the delay in reporting the injuries because symptoms from TBI can sometimes take time to present themselves.

For that same reason, officials have said the number of diagnoses may continue to rise.

Of the 110 troops who have been diagnosed, 77 have since returned to duty, the Pentagon said Friday.

Since the Pentagon’s last update on the injuries Feb. 10, another eight have been taken to Germany for further evaluation. That brings the total treated in Germany to 35.

Of those taken to Germany, 25 were later brought back to the United States, an increase of four since the last report. Seven are getting further medical evaluation, two have returned to Iraq and one is ready to return to Iraq but is waiting for transportation.

When the Pentagon first reported that service members suffered TBIs in the attack, President Trump downplayed the injuries, saying he “heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things” and calling them “not very serious.”

The Veterans of Foreign Wars called on Trump to apologize for the remarks.

Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist, also said on Twitter: “We shouldn’t hide our veterans’ injuries just to pretend like we’re invincible”. 

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