A total of 50 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injury from this month’s Iranian missile attack on Iraqi bases hosting American troops, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Of those TBI cases, which can include concussions, 31 were treated in Iraq and have returned to duty, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell said in a statement.
Last week, the Pentagon said there were 34 service members diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
Of the 16 new diagnosed cases, 15 service members have returned to duty in Iraq, Campbell said.
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Iran launched ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq housing American troops on Jan. 8 local time. The strike was in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was commander of its elite Quds Force, in a drone attack outside Baghdad’s airport less than a week before.
No one was killed in Iran’s strikes, and a day after targeting U.S. forces, President Donald Trump said that no one was hurt or killed.
Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said last week that a lot of TBI symptoms are late developing and manifest themselves over a period of time.
“The symptoms can get better, they can get worse,” Hoffman said Friday. “So we may see those numbers change a little bit. This is a snapshot in time.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website that some symptoms of concussions and other traumatic brain injury can appear right away, but other symptoms may not be noticed for days or months after the injury.
One of those new cases involved a service member transported to Germany for further evaluation and treatment, bringing the total taken there to 18. That person had been taken to Germany “for other health reasons and has since been diagnosed with a TBI,” Campbell said.
Last week, another Pentagon spokesman said that eight U.S. service members who were sent to Germany were then taken to the United States.
Campbell’s statement Tuesday said that there was no information as to whether anyone else has returned to the U.S.
A service member that had been taken to Kuwait for treatment has since returned to duty, Campbell said.
Hours after Iran launched missiles against U.S. forces, Iran’s armed forces shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane that departed from Tehran’s airport, in an incident that Iranian officials blamed on “human error” and which Iran’s president has called an “unforgivable mistake.”
All 176 people aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 were killed, including many Iranians and Canadians.