WASHINGTON, DC — The Pentagon said Friday that 34 U.S. troops were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries suffered in this month’s Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi air base, and that half of the troops have returned to their military duties.
Seventeen of the 34 are still under medical observation, according to Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman.
President Donald Trump had initially said he was told that no troops had been injured in the Jan. 8 strike. The military said symptoms were not immediately reported after the strike and in some cases became known days later.
After the first reports that some soldiers had been hurt, Trump referred to them as “headaches” and said the cases were not as serious as injuries involving the loss of limbs.
Earlier this week President Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq.
During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump was asked to explain the discrepancy between his previous comments that no U.S. service member was harmed in the Iranian missile attack on Al-Asad airbase in Iraq, and the latest reports of U.S. troops being treated for injuries sustained in that attack.
“No, 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,” Trump replied during a news conference.